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AN EVENING WITH THE DIXIE CHICKS

Review by Mark Wiechman

Stars: Natalie Maines, Martie McGuire, Emily Robison 
Director: Joel Gallen
Video:  Full Screen only
Audio:  Dolby digital 5.1
Features: Discography, Biography
Length: 92 minutes
Studio:  Columbia
Release Date:  February 11, 2003

Film ***

When I first heard of the Dixie Chicks I assumed they were Nashville’s Spice Girls; three twangy blondes put together to sell records.  No one with such a goofy name could really be any good.  I stand corrected!  While they do not write their own material, they are otherwise a self-made ensemble that does things their way, and very well, thank you very much!   This is half the reason for their success—they sound like no one else.  So many Nashville artists use the same musicians and studios that they cannot help sounding the same.  

So what is it about Natalie’s voice that is so amazing?  Why is she so obviously a country singer but not a typical one?  For one thing, she is not a sad crooner, she sounds joyous even when the song is sad.  She has the power of a rock singer and her natural Texas twang does not interfere with it.   Having some training at the hallowed Berklee school of music, she can project and control her voice and the twang almost disappears on some tunes.   But I can only imagine the effect this hell-raising blonde had on the quaint town of Boston!  How come ya’ll don’t serve cheese grits with thuh fish? And no cornbread?

Their newest album Home, another Grammy winner (of course), was not very interesting to me, but when the songs are played live they are much more listenable.  Travelin’ Soldier stands out in particular. 

The other interesting thing about this show is that is was filmed in Hollywood in front of a very enthusiastic country-fried audience.  Who woulda thought, in California?

Songlist: Long Time Gone, Landslide, Travelin' Soldier, Truth No. 2, White Trash Wedding, A Home, More Love, I Believe in Love, Tortured Tangled Hearts, Lil' Jack Slade, Godspeed (Sweet Dreams), Top of the World, Wide Open Spaces, Cowboy Take Me Away, Goodbye Earl, Sin Wagon

Video **

The footage is outstanding, but the view alternates between video and film every few seconds like a music video designed to cause epileptic fits.  Why not just stick to one or the other?  Like many music DVDs, bad judgment in editing marred what could have been a  beautiful production.

Audio ***

The sound and mix are great, but no DTS, so only three stars.  Get with the times, people!

Features *

None except a biography and discography.  No interviews?  Say what?

Summary:

Great music from the Chicks, and now that they have made up with Sony, they need to find someone to make sure their next video is done professionally enough to capture their sound and look.  They deserve it.