Taking the Long Way

Studio Album by released in 2006
Taking the Long Way's tracklist:
The Long Way Around
Easy Silence
Not Ready to Make Nice
Everybody Knows
Bitter End
Lubbock or Leave It
Silent House
Favorite Year
Voice Inside My Head
I Like It
Baby Hold On
So Hard
I Hope

Taking the Long Way review

There’s no confounded way to think about one second of Taking the Long Way out of the context of Natalie Maines’ declaration that she was “ashamed the president was from Texas”, and the years the Dixie Chicks have spent in country music’s equivalent of Gitmo, or maybe one of those dark prisons. It’s also impossible to ignore that in 2006, fully 70 percent of the country is also ashamed the president is from anywhere in America, and the Dixie Chicks return to a landscape almost mathematically opposite to the one they were forced out of in 2003. On this new record there aren’t any carefree frolics in wide-open spaces, merely cautious steps in grown-up and claustrophobic ones. And the Dixie Chicks, a band who built a lucrative reputation on their cotton-candy flavored fun-country, have recorded a mostly cloudy rock record that’s quite easily their best. This is not to say that Taking the Long Way is a record of vindication; rather, it’s one of melancholy, veiled rage and, more than anything, disbelief. Inspired by such legendary rock artists as the Eagles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Mamas and the Papas, their seventh studio album embraces the depth and fury of classic rock while remaining true to the trio's Texas roots.

Taking the Long Way finds Dixie Chicks sobered and matured

Nothing changes folks like babies and war, and since the release of their last album, 2002's Grammy-winning Home, the Dixie Chicks have been forever altered by both. If that album showcased the trio as precocious young adults, Taking the Long Way finds them sobered and matured, and in a grown-up state of mind. As they make clear in the defiant Not Ready to Make Nice, they still smart over the backlash from their 2003 Bushwhacking. But as they assert on the equally autobiographical The Long Way Around, they could never "kiss all the asses that they told me to" and just follow others aimlessly – and silently – through life. This means that the Dixie Chicks are simultaneously prideful and scornful of celebrity (Everybody Knows), and that as new mothers they increasingly treasure the refuge they find in life with their families, out of the spotlight (Easy Silence, Lullaby, Baby Hold On). The push and pull of both passions drive this record, which also touches on the personal issues of infertility (with which sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison both dealt) and Alzheimer's (from which Natalie Maines's grandmother suffers). Bitter End, the gorgeous ballad with Maguire’s Pogues riff, furnishes a heartbroken melody good enough for last call at the bar of your choice. I Hope closes the record with gentle gospel touches.

Dixie Chicks are putting themselves out there like never before

Dixie Chicks’ new record impresses both as beautiful sonic tapestry and forthright yet vulnerable portrait of three women shaken by the personal and political events of the past few years. The first-time pairing with producer Rick Rubin (who has worked with everyone from Johnny Cash to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, from Run DMC to Neil Diamond) has resulted in a surprisingly cohesive mix of country and rock tunes. At times, Dixie Chicks rock harder than ever, especially on the ferocious Lubbock or Leave It, a two-barreled blast at small-town hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness titled after Maines' hometown. Rubin enlisted Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench and guitarist Mike Campbell to supply thick and gritty accompaniment that raises the urgency level of the album. The trio crafted all 14 cuts with the help of such writers as Sheryl Crow, Gary Louris, Neil Finn, Keb’ Mo’, Linda Perry, Pete Yorn and Semisonic guy Dan Wilson, laying out their lives as honestly and intimately as they might in their diaries. With Taking the Long Way, one of the most anticipated albums in recent years, the Dixie Chicks are putting themselves out there like never before. The biggest-selling female band in history has truly pushed themselves to new heights both as writers and as performers.

Rate review3.47
Total votes - 48

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