Tag Archives: Dixie chicks

Dixie Chicks win at Grammy Awards

LOS ANGELES (CP) _ The Dixie Chicks, virtually shunned by the country music industry after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized U.S. President George W. Bush in the lead-up to the Iraq war, emerged triumphant at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, picking up five trophies, including record, song and album of the year.

"I’m ready to make nice," said Maines, referring to the group’s defiant anthem, "Not Ready To Make Nice."

"I think people are using their freedom of speech here tonight with all of these awards."

Other trophies for the Chicks included best country performance by a group and best country album for their politically tinged, "Taking the Long Way."

"Well, to quote the great ‘Simpsons:’ heh-heh!" Maines said to laughter and applause, referring to a snide taunt oft-heard on the animated TV show.

Bandmate Emily Robison thanked the band’s core fans for staying with them through death threats, public CD burnings and a boycott by some country radio stations.

"We wouldn’t have done this album without everything we went through so we have no regrets," said Robison.

It was also a big night for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who picked up four Grammys, and R&B diva Mary J. Blige, who got three.

Blige, who had a leading eight nominations going into the night, snapped up prizes for best R&B album for "The Breakthrough" and best R&B vocal performance for the song "Be Without You."

The song had earlier won best R&B song in a pre-televised ceremony.

"The is the first time I’ve ever been up here to receive anything," an emotional Blige said as she fought back tears in one of the night’s first acceptance speeches.

Looking elegant in a champagne coloured gown with a plunging neckline, the R&B diva acknowledged her troubled past and said she considered the prizes an acknowledgment she had grown as a person as well as an artist.

"For so many years I’ve been talked about negatively and this time I am being talked about positively by so many people," said Blige, whose past includes well-publicized substance abuse problems.

"I’m going to use this success to build bridges, not to burn."

Awards for the Chili Peppers included best rock album, best rock song and best rock performance by a duo or group.

The Grammy show kicked off with a blast from the past, with the Police performing a jazzy version of their classic hit "Roxanne" some 23 years after they split up.

Sting, sporting black pants and a black vest baring muscular arms, clasped hands with bandmates Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers to take a bow at the end of the song for the cheering crowd at the Staples Center.

Justin Timberlake then offered a nod to music’s digital age with a performance that began on piano but ended with him filming himself onstage with a handheld camera, producing images familiar to any YouTube viewer. Aspiring singer Robyn Troup joined him for a duet later in the broadcast, her big break determined by Internet and text message voting.

Before the telecast began, Nova Scotia songwriter Gordie Sampson grabbed Grammy glory for Canada, picking up the country’s sole prize for best country song with the Carrie Underwood hit "Jesus Take the Wheel" at an afternoon ceremony.

"Thank you so much," Sampson said as he held the shiny gramophone statue while standing onstage with U.S. co-writers Brett James and Hillary Lindsey. "This is quite an honour."

Sampson had previously found modest success writing album tracks for various artists but the Underwood single was his first massive radio hit, spending six weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard charts.

Other Canadians, meanwhile, came up empty-handed.

As he predicted, Vancouver crooner Michael Buble lost out to Tony Bennett, who won the Grammy for best traditional pop vocal album. Sarah McLachlan had also been nominated in that category.

Late last month, Buble said he wasn’t going to attend the Grammy ceremony and didn’t expect to win, adding "they might as well have already scratched (Bennett’s) name" onto the trophy.

He later changed his mind and said he’d show up, adding the remarks about Bennett were a lame attempt at humour.

Bennett said backstage that he had spent the afternoon hanging out with his young protege.

Asked if there were any hard feelings between the pair when the

veteran emerged victorious, Bennett quipped: "That’s up to him,

it’s not my decision."

Shut Up & Post – free speech blog

NEW YORK, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ – What is the price to be paid for free speech? The Dixie Chicks were criticized by the American media and the American public for voicing their opinions and now they want to hear what your views are on freedom of expression. The Weinstein Company has launched an official free speech discussion blog on MySpace.com called SHUT UP & POST. The forum enables MySpace members to upload a video blog posting of themselves and/or post a comment explaining what freedom of speech means to them. 

The blog is tied to the upcoming documentary about the Dixie Chicks titled "Shut Up & Sing" being released by The Weinstein Company in limited theaters on October 27 and nationwide on November 10. The interactive marketing agency Deep Focus assisted in securing and building the promotion.

Freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental rights that American’s enjoy and is essential to the existence of Democracy. Whatever side you fall on, simply get your opinion out there and exercise your right to free speech. The SHUT UP & POST blog is essentially a forum where anyone can participate and comment with other bloggers. To get involved, simply visit http://www.myspace.com/shutupandsing and post your comments or upload a video of yourself stating what your opinions are on free speech.

MySpace.com, the largest online social networking community with over 115 million registered members, and Technorati, the leading authority on the global blogosphere, currently tracking over 40 million blogs worldwide, joined forces to power the SHUT UP & POST blog. This collaboration enables the blog to track and connect users to other blogs about free speech and about the Dixie Chicks. SHUT UP & POST is poised to become the largest free speech discussion forum not only on the internet, but in the world.

Furthermore, the film’s online free speech campaign combines the power of ‘rich media’ and ‘social media’ allowing audiences to voice their opinions directly into the banners and have those opinions immediately posted to the SHUT UP AND POST blog.

Barbara Kopple, co-director of "Shut Up & Sing" stated, "Freedom of speech is the right to tell your story without fear of being forcibly silenced whether through legality, ridicule or manipulation. Freedom of speech is the right to start the conversation, to ask questions, to challenge assumptions, and to fight for what you believe. To stay silent or to declare blind loyalty is not in anyone’s interest and our right to freedom of speech is something we need to protect fiercely and protect often."

Cecilia Peck, co-director of "Shut Up & Sing" stated, "As George Orwell said, ‘If liberty means anything, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’  And that means without being persecuted for what you’ve said.  When Natalie Maines questioned the invasion of Iraq, she spoke for many of us who are citizens, and mothers, and who love this country."

Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, added, "Social media, including blogs, video sharing, and social networks, have changed the way people express themselves. It is precisely this freedom of expression that ‘Shut Up & Sing’ fundamentally explores. Through a campaign that not only encourages, but enables free speech, audiences will have a forum to make their voices heard — and seen."

From two time Academy Award winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, and co-director Cecilia Peck, "Shut Up & Sing" travels with the Dixie Chicks, from the peak of their popularity as the national-anthem-singing darlings of country music and top-selling female recording artists of all time, through the now infamous anti-Bush comment made by the group’s lead singer Natalie Maines in 2003. 

The film traces the lives and careers of the Dixie Chicks over a period of three years during which they were under political attack and received death threats, while continuing to live their lives, have children, and of course make music. At a time when the United States is fighting for democracy and freedom in another country, it raises questions about our own right to freedom of speech and the negative consequences it can have.

Dixie Chicks documentary gets warm welcome at Toronto film fest

TORONTO (CP)_Tell these feisty chicks to "shut up and sing" and they’ll make a movie. The Dixie Chicks have rebounded from death threats, stinging political attacks and radio station battles with "Shut Up and Sing," a moving documentary that debuted this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.

It was three years ago that front woman Natalie Maines told a London audience that the Texas band was embarrassed U.S. President George W. Bush was from their home state. Since then, the trio has weathered a firestorm of controversy to create a new album, discover new fans, have a couple of babies and embark on a new tour. But Maines said Wednesday she has not changed her tune about the president.

"Everything that has happened since then is more of a disgrace and watching all the footage from Hurricane Katrina is unbelievable," Haines told a packed news conference as cameras snapped shots of her and bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison.

"He has been a disaster."

In fact, the touching film not only repeats her controversial statement but adds fuel to the fire with yet another expletive-laden slam that Haines admits made her pause once she realized it had been caught on camera.

"I was being myself and that’s what a documentary is about," Haines said of the scene.

"When I first saw that I kind of went, ‘Uhnhh!,"’ she said, as if gasping for air. "But I don’t think at this stage I’m pissing off any new people."

The diminutive blond drew no ire from enthusiastic audiences that screened the film during the festival. An early press screening Monday drew spontaneous applause and laughter, while a ritzy gala screening ended with a standing ovation. The film, directed by Oscar-winner Barbara Kopple with Cecilia Peck, daughter of late film legend Gregory Peck, drew its most ardent approval in one scene where the band’s handlers propose dropping U.S. cities from a poor-selling tour and adding Canadian ones instead. "Kamloops, Moose Jaw…. Any town with a hockey arena," one suggests in the film as hoots of approval emerge from the audience.

Haines said Wednesday the band has a new appreciation for Canadian fans, who stood by the country trio while others in the United States tossed CDs in the trash at the behest of a right-wing campaign.

"Yes, thank God for Canada," said Haines, noting the band found political support from countries around the world. "It’s a little surprising that the U.S. hasn’t necessarily caught on yet."

"It was encouraging to have the premiere of this film in a country where what happened to the Dixie Chicks could never happen here," added Peck, repeating comments made at the gala screening earlier in the week.