Wide Open Spaces

Wide Open Spaces

by The ChicksDixie Chicks


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The Dixie Chicks spent the first half of the '90s toiling away on the independent bluegrass circuit, releasing three albums on small labels, before sisters Martie Seidel and Emily Robison decided to revamp their sound in 1995, adding Natalie Maines as their lead singer and, in the process, moving the group away from bluegrass and toward a major label with Sony/Columbia's revived Monument Records imprint. All of this seems like the blueprint for a big pop crossover move and, to be sure, their 1998 major-label debut Wide Open Spaces was a monumental success, selling over ten million copies and turning the group into superstars, but the remarkable thing about the album is that it's most decidedly not a sell-out, or even a consciously country-pop record. To be sure, there are pop melodies here, but this isn't a country-pop album in the vein of Shania Twain, a record that's big on style and glitz, designed for a mass audience. Instead, Wide Open Spaces pulls from several different sources -- the Chicks' Americana roots, to be sure, but also bits of the alt country from kd lang and Lyle Lovett, '70s soft rock (any album that features versions of songs by J.D. Souther and Bonnie Raitt surely fits this bill), even the female neo-folkies emerging on the adult alternative rock stations at the end of the decade. In other words, it hit a sweet spot, appealing to many different audiences because it was eclectic without being elitist but they also had a true star in Natalie Maines, whose powerful, bluesy voice gave these songs a compelling center. Maines was versatile, too, negotiating the twists and turns of these songs without a hitch, easily moving from the vulnerability of "You Were Mine" to the snarl of "Give It Up or Let Me Go." The same goes for the Dixie Chicks and Wide Open Spaces as a whole: they are as convincing on the sprightly opener "I Can Love You Better" or the bright, optimistic title song as they are on the breezy "There's Your Trouble" as they are on the honky tonk shuffle of "Tonight the Heartache's on Me" and the rocking swagger of "Let 'Er Rip." It's a remarkably wide range and it's effortlessly eclectic, with the Dixie Chicks bringing it all together with their attitude and understated musicality -- as debuts go (and this does count as a debut), they rarely get better than this.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/27/1998
Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC: 0886919811223
catalogNumber: 198112

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dixie Chicks   Primary Artist
Matt Rollings   Piano,Hammond B3
Joe Chemay   Bass
Mark Casstevens   Acoustic Guitar
Billy Crain   Acoustic Guitar
Lloyd Maines   Steel Guitar
George Marinelli   Electric Guitar
Greg Morrow   Drums
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Tom Roady   Conga,Tambourine,Shaker
Billy Joe Walker   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Paul Worley   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Emily Erwin   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Dobro,Vocals,Group Member
Martie Seidel   Fiddle,Mandolin,Vocals,Group Member
Natalie Maines   Vocals,Group Member
Tommy Nash   Electric Guitar
Tony Paoletta   Steel Guitar
Bobby Charles   Bass

Technical Credits

Maria McKee   Composer
Bonnie Raitt   Composer
Radney Foster   Composer
Tom Jans   Composer
Bob Morrison   Composer
Mark Capps   Additional Production
Blake Chancey   Producer
Billy Crain   Composer
Kostas   Composer
Johnny MacRae   Composer
Bruce Miller   Composer
Billy Sherrill   Engineer
J.D. Souther   Composer
Paul Worley   Producer
George Ducas   Composer
Jim Burnett   Pro-Tools,Additional Production
Pamela Brown Hayes   Composer
Erik Hellerman   Additional Production
Bill Johnson   Art Direction
Clarke Schleicher   Additional Production
Emily Erwin   Composer
Ed Simonton   Additional Production
Tracy Baskette-Fleaner   Art Direction
Tony Castle   Additional Production
Thom McHugh   Composer
Sandy Ramos   Composer
Martie Seidel   Composer
Mark Selby   Composer
Tia Sillers   Composer
Eric Legg   Engineer
Susan Gibson   Composer
Mary W. Francis   Composer

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