Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Chicks?

I reviewed the Chicks last CD which is basically a rootsy, alternative sound and disses the country scene. There are many very well done songs. Rick Rubin has produced a clinically, mistake free masterpiece. The disc has sold very well. The CD plays it safe sonically, very heavily produced and some, well, maybe too much venting about their past.
What I do not get is why their PR people want the songs on country radio so much. I was very surprised to see their album on the Country Billboard Charts. Country Music has ignored them for at least three years. "Not Ready To Make Nice", which attacks country music fans, was their first single attempt, which totally failed. Now they are promoting "Voices In My Head" as their next single. Better, but I think that something like "Bitter End" or "Favorite Year" would work because of the lyrical content. Usually music like this ends up on adult alternative AAA stations or college stations.
I have been listening to some earlier Chicks, more specifically "Wide Open Spaces", my favorite CD for four years and still on my top ten. Also, I have been listening to "Top of The World Tour " which is great, the Chicks are great live, had the pleasure of seeing them twice.
There is something so emotive and creative about all twelve songs on "Wide Open Spaces" , I have gone thru two or three discs. It is honky tonk country, a great country production and the great dobro, fiddle and banjo of the Chicks which is missing in their new disc. (Well, a little banjo deep in the mix.) Not heavily produced, even a live cut with their road band.
The live CD of "Top Of The World Tour" which only went Gold is a great two disc live performance. I remember the "Fly" tour, at that time, their fans were teenage girls. The whole venue in Philly stood up from song one to the end of the show. The great pedal steel, banjo fiddle and dobro. Missing in action here, replaced by orchestra and layers of hard rock guitars. What I really don't get is there are no instrumental solos to speak of, just power chords except for some John Mayer riffs.
Just switched from listening to "Taking The Long Way" to "Wide Open Spaces". Compared to Rubin's production, Chancey/Worley's production sounds like a demo. What a great country sound, this disc turned country music back to country again.
Well, you know there's a big tour coming up "Accidents and Accusations", the same basic band that did the last tour. There's some trouble selling tickets and I've heard some shows are being cancelled, especially in country music hotbeds.
Oh, for a simpler time, when they didn't have midgets on Country stages and country music was all about God, apple pie and broke down pickups. There's some great new indies and always great bluegrass. Brooks and Dunn still win duo of the year. Patty Loveless is at the top of her game, but her last CD was ignored. Vince Gill, I miss you, you were class.
Well, what do you think?

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