Welcome to our first Random Reflections, a new weekly feature in which Brianna or I will discuss an album–or perhaps a song on occasion, but more than likely an album–from country’s past that we would recommend. These are not reviews; anything we would put here at all would probably be an 8 or higher anyway. There are no rules other than that the music being discussed has to have been released prior to June 2015, the birth month of Country Exclusive. We are not going through “classic” albums, and there’s no rule on style or era either, these are just simply a way for us to highlight more music, and for us and our readers to discover older material and become more acquainted with country music’s history. With all that said, I’d like to reflect on one of the first country records I ever owned, the debut album by the Dixie Chicks.
Release Date: January 27, 1998
Style: mostly traditional country
Who Might Like This Album: traditional country fans, fans of Maddie & Tae, maybe fans of Pistol Annies or other all-female groups
Standout Tracks: “I’ll Take Care of You,” “Am I the Only One,” “Tonight, the Heartache’s on Me,” “You Were Mine,” “Loving arms,” “Once You’ve Loved somebody”
Reflections: Well, if you haven’t gotten into the Dixie Chicks before now, you definitely should. Fly is probably more well-known, and Home is certainly more critically acclaimed, but this debut started it all for them, and it’s one of the first country albums I ever fell in love with. The harmonies of the Dixie Chicks are unmatched; the only thing I’ve ever heard come close are those of Maddie & Tae, and that’s a beautiful thing. The lyrics in some of these tracks are outstanding, and it’s traditional pretty much throughout. They weren’t afraid to explore sensitive themes either–“I’ll Take Care of You,” one of the highlights of their short career, deals with a same-sex relationship, and that’s something not seen often in country. This album was made at a time when good songwriting mattered and when it wasn’t so hard for women to be successful in the mainstream. Country might be much different today if the Dixie Chicks hadn’t been blacklisted, but that’s another story. For now, go check out this album and their other work.
Let us know what you think about this feature, and share your own reflections in the comments below!