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Natalie Maines Says Dixie Chicks Reunion is Unlikely: ‘I Feel Like We Are Tainted’

Larry Busacca, Getty Images for NARAS

Natalie Maines soared to fame in the late ’90s as the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks. The trio, which also included sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire, developed a large and diverse fan following by churning out hits like ‘Wide Open Spaces’ and ‘Cowboy Take Me Away.’

But when Maines announced from a stage in London in 2003 that they were “ashamed” that then-President George W. Bush was from their home state of Texas, they watched their success come to a sudden halt seemingly overnight, as their sales plummeted and radio stations refused to play their music. Still, while the singer-songwriter fiercely defended her comment, she now quietly admits their career as a trio may have essentially ended with that statement.

“I feel like we are tainted,” she tells Rolling Stone magazine. “I don’t know if we put a tour up, if people would come.” The trio last released a new studio album, ‘Taking the Long Way,’ in 2006 and toured, but though both the album and tour were successful, the numbers were still a fraction of what they had been at the trio’s peak. But Maines acknowledges that there is another reason she doesn’t work harder at putting together a Dixie Chicks tour. “It’s not where my passion is,” she says. “But I don’t dislike it, either.”

The once close-knit threesome used to enjoy time on and off the road together, but the 38-year-old concedes they lost more than their careers in the aftermath of the London show. With only a few reunions in the past few years, she says she hasn’t seen her former bandmates since last July — and she isn’t sure she minds the separation.

“That was a lot of what I had to work out in therapy, too, because you do become this unit and you do feel an obligation,” she concedes. “There’s not being inspired, but there’s also just not having the life to facilitate that right now. We have nine kids between the three of us. You know, Martie and Emily probably have more time to themselves — whereas I don’t. And I can’t go to Texas and make a rec­ord. I don’t think they can uproot and come here [to Los Angeles] to make a record.”

Not that the married mother of two has given up making music entirely. She released her solo album, ‘Mother,’ earlier this year, and enlisted rock artist Ben Harper to co-produce the 10-track CD with her. The songstress was clear she wanted to record songs she liked — including a Pink Floyd track as the title song — regardless of genre.

“The words ‘rock,’ or ‘country,’ or ‘soul’ . . . none of that ever came up,” Harper notes. Instead, Maines says she had one guiding factor while choosing the songs for the album.

“I really just wanted this to be fun,” she says, “and there were so many songs I’ve always wanted to sing. And that could go on forever. I could have a hundred covers albums.”

‘Mother’ also includes Eddie Vedder’s ‘Without You’ and ‘Silver Bell’ by Patty Griffin. Purchase the album here.

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