Home Premiere Special (8/26/02)

Martie Maguire
Emily Strayer
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About Me

The Dixie Chicks premiered their album, Home, during a live 2 hour broadcast aired nationally by Westwood One Radio Network. The Chicks answered questions submitted by fans at CMT.com and by telephone. The special debuted 10 songs from Home.
Host: Lon Helton
Airdate: August 26, 2002

(Some host comments not effecting the show have been edited out)
1. Lil' Jack Slade
CHARLIE COOK: The Dixie Chicks turned country music upside down with the release of Wide Open Spaces four years ago. They continued to soar with Fly. And now they're poised to make history tomorrow with the release of their third album, Home. They've won dozens and dozens of industry awards including the CMA and ACM Entertainers of the Year. The Chicks played to more than a million fans on their Fly tour and they're the only female group in history to sell 10 million copies each of two different albums and Home just might become their third. Tonight, we'll celebrate with the Dixie Chicks as they world premiere new music from Home in stores tomorrow
LON HELTON: We're in New York City live tonight. Three hours, two hours rather with the three of you. The Dixie Chicks. How are ya?
LON HELTON: You guys have been in New York for what a week now? Almost, huh?
NATALIE: Yes, we've been here a while. We've been out of town for like three weeks. I can't remember where we are when, but we've been in New York and we've spent the weekend in the Hamptons so we feel like true New Yorkers now.
LON HELTON: My. So what do you think about what Charlie Cook said earlier about making history tomorrow with a new album coming out.
EMILY: That's scary.
LON HELTON: You sold what, twenty something million albums. That's pretty incredible.
NATALIE: I know. It's unbelievable every time I hear that because I look at stars who I think are huge superstars and then when I read an article and see that they sold 3 million records and then I go, " Ohhh, we've sold 20 million records." That's when things get put into perspective.
LON HELTON: Let's talk a little bit about this album before we get into "Long Time Gone." Tell me a little bit just about it. We've talked about you selling more than 20 million albums, and yet I hear you say that this is more the music you guys really wanted to make.
MARTIE: At this time it was what we were feeling inside. A lot of people heard about our record label lawsuit and we had taken a year off when all that was going on. And it was kind of like therapy going in the studio and getting away from the business because having to worry about the business side of the music business is frustrating sometimes because we like to just pick and sing and not worry and hire people to deal with that side of the job. And so it was nice to be home and nesting and happy, happily married -- and Natalie had her baby. (Sound of glass breaking and laughter from the Chicks) Emily had one on the way.
NATALIE: I knew it. I knew this would happen.
LON HELTON: It was only a matter of time. This should be on TV. Natalie answered her cellphone and turned it off and looking for that red wine and there it goes.
NATALIE: I hadn't had cell phone service all dayand now it's ringing.
LON HELTON: Martie, pick up on one thing for me. Actually I'm curious for all of you. You got a lot of press all the stuff that was going on with the label and you were gone without new music for over a year. Did you guys ever wonder, especially doing something what you might consider radical at this music, like "Geez, do you think anybody's going to care. Maybe they won't care when we come back. What if we came back and nobody, you know."
MARTIE: First of all, I don't think a year and a half is a long amount of time to get rejuvenated and re-inspired. I think it takes that, especially for us, to know where we're gonna go musically next and true fans stick with you and we've been in touch in various ways with our fans while we were breaking.
NATALIE: I think if you make a good record you can go away for a long time. In the rock world people don't shell out the albums...
MARTIE: An album a year.
NATALIE: ...like they do in pop and in country. We've always been in the mindset, ya know, we thought we had a pretty good break between Wide Open Spaces and Fly just cause we feel that it's important to go away for a little bit so you can come back with that big push. A lot of times, I don't even know that a artist has a new album out. They happen so quick it seems like they just overlap and I have no idea if it's a new album or the old album when I hear singles on the radio. For us it's just a necessity, people are already asking us questions about the fourth album. We're not even there. I have no idea what that's going to sound like.
LON HELTON: No worries then?
EMILY: I can't say that I don't think about it late at night when your sleeping or when you're about to go to sleep and thinking about everything in your world. Yeah, I think for me, you know, it's always...it's a high to have that sort of support and album sales and things like that. So when you make something that you are really proud of, you want to feel that again. So I can't say it doesn't creep into our psyche a little bit.
LON HELTON: The first e-mail here comes from Franny who's in Chicago tonight. And Franny wants to know the inspiration or your influences growing up and if there was one defining artist who influenced you and then she wants to know the inspiration behind "Long Time Gone." Or why you guys picked that song? One artist.
MARTIE: I'd say Dolly Parton
NATALIE: James Taylor
EMILY: Emmylou Harris.
LON HELTON: Alright. and we have things to talk about, at least a few of those people, as we get along here.
EMILY: Emmylou Harris to me is just, I think overall, I look over people's career as a whole and the longevity that they've had and I think that's our biggest goal right now is just to be here many years from now, you know. Seeing how someone goes through their whole career with such class and such consistency and just quality. To me that marks a really good career. It doesn't necessarily mean that every album that that person puts out is their best-selling album. I think it's important to have that love for your own music to where it doesn't matter if you sell half as many the next time. You have that passion for it.
LON HELTON: I think we'll talk about Emmylou maybe a little bit later too. Second half of Franny's question. Were all you guys attracted to "Long Time Gone?" Did anyone have to be talked into this?
MARTIE: I'm always attracted to Darrell Scott's songs. He's put out some independent releases because he's an artist, himself in his own right as well as a songwriter. We enjoy his take on things. The song "Long Time Gone" we weren't attractedwe usually are attracted to controversial things for some reason. But that was not some thing, a song we were attracted to because of its controversy but you know the last verse. Today I was watching CNN and a little headline or a little sub-line came along the bottom of the screen, and it said "Dixie Chicks take a slam at radio in their new song".
NATALIE: Really? We made the ticker.
MARTIE: I thought don't they have something else to put on the ticker. It wasn't intentional at all. It's not necessarily our view, and I love that music is across the board and radio will play the more pop country and the more traditional country. I think we need it all. But it's definitely Darrell Scott's view and I think he puts it in a really interesting great way.
LON HELTON: Oh he absolutely does.
MARTIE: Poetic.
2. Long Time Gone
LON HELTON: That's not a bad shot at anybody. It's interesting how people pick up on trying to make controversy out of nothing. Here's a couple of personal questions for you guys. Emily, do you know the sex of your baby and what are the names you've picked out?
EMILY: Yes, it is a little boy, and we've picked out the name Charles Augustus Robison. Charles after my husband Charlie and Augustus after our favorite McMurtry character Augustus McRae.
LON HELTON: Lonesome Dove?
EMILY: Yes, we'll probably call him Gus. Good Texas name.
LON HELTON: Alright, another personal question here. Anita, who's in Tucson, wants to know from each of you the one thing you do for yourself and just for you, like when nobody's watching. (Laughter)
MARTIE: Gosh, I don't know what she's driving at. (Laughter.)
NATALIE: Why are you so guilty? I don't think she's driving at anything.
LON HELTON: It's a good thing this is on late at night.
MARTIE: I like to take time for myself in the form of a hot bath.
NATALIE: I still love to dance crazily and sing at the top of my lungs when I'm by myself. Just like a teenager. If I'm in a hotel room or something I always think somebody can probably see me, but I don't care.
EMILY: As Martie and Natalie well know I am a beauty product addict. I buy like lotions and potions and all that kind of stuff, and sometimes I'll just sit around my hotel room and just dabble. (Laughter) It's not doing much good but I'm dabbling.
LON HELTON: It's really interesting that people have actually heard some of this music from Home before because, of course, the single "Long Time Gone." But "Travelin' Soldier" you guys did on the CMA Awards show last November. So you are probably the best to talk about "Travelin' Soldier" Emily.
EMILY: We've all been Bruce Robison fans for a long time -- even before I was a part of his family. I'm married to his brother, Charlie, and we heard the song probably two or three years ago. It didn't necessarily make sense on the first two albums. When we decided to do something more acoustic, we found ourselves going back to this song just because it was one of those ones that we loved so much and we really felt like our harmonies and our instrumentation would add to it. I am so happy to know that he likes our version of the song. But it was special to do on the CMA's not because it directly related to 9/11, but just because of the sentiment. I think it put people in a place to want to hear a song like that.
NATALIE: You can see in the audience when we play, you can tell the people who have family overseas fighting the war. They get very emotional on this song.
3. Travelin' Soldier
LON HELTON: We have some surprises here for you tonight. We have one of them right now. We have on the phone, Stevie Nicks.
STEVIE: Oh my God. Martie, Emily, Natalie.
NATALIE: How are you?
STEVIE: I am fine. I just wanted, ya know I'm not there so I can't be listening to this of course because I'm in LA. I just wanted to tell you guys I'm so excited about your record company -- your record company -- ah, Freudian slip. (Laughter) I'm so excited about your record coming out today and about "Landslide" and just you guys, well you know, because I just love you all so much. I'm so excited for the world to hear this music, because the world needs this music.
NATALIE: Ahh, you're so sweet.
STEVIE: Are you happy?
NATALIE: Yes, we're happy. Are you happy with "Landslide"? We get asked that all day long.
Dial tone. The phone has been disconnected.
DIXIE CHICKS (laughing): Oh, no.
NATALIE: The answer to that one. Oh my God. She hates it.
LON HELTON: I guess not
NATALIE: Geez, she coulda lied. She's so honest.
LON HELTON: She just hung up. There's news that's going to be on CNN tomorrow.
DIXIE CHICKS: Stevie Nicks hangs up...
LON HELTON:  ...on the Chicks. Doesn't like "Landslide". The song was just released as a single and debuted extremely high on the charts is this "Landslide" that Stevie wrote.
NATALIE: Whether she likes it or not
LON HELTON: While we're trying to get her back on the line to talk to you guys, why don't you talk a little bit about how Natalie, you brought this to everybody. This was your idea.
NATALIE: Yeah, I'll take credit for this one. We all knew it was a great song -- and no songs get on the album unless we all love them. But I was listening to this in the car one day in Austin. I've known the song. I could have sang the song five years ago, but it never hit me like it did at this age. And after having a child and taking some time off and growing and maturing, I just really connected to the song. Immediately heard, cause we already sort of knew the direction that we wanted to take with these recordings, I just heard exactly how we could do it, and it turned out just like it was in my head, and we love it.
LON HELTON: I think we have Stevie back. Right Stevie?
STEVIE: I'm back but of course I missed that whole thing.
LON HELTON: They were really concerned that you didn't like it.
NATALIE: I asked what you thought of "Landslide" and then there was a dial tone. (Laughter)
STEVIE: Well you know what I think of "Landslide". I love it and since I got to go to Las Vegas and actually sing it with the girls, that was such a treat for me. I think we ended up in a four-part harmony. You know, since "Landslide", I remember sitting in some house in Colorado in like 1973, with a beautiful view in somebody's big beautiful home that I had gone to dinner or something. I took my guitar and I went into this beautiful room and I sat and I wrote "Landslide." I can remember it and seeing it through my eyes when I was, gosh, in my early 20s and then through my eyes all the way through up until now -- and through you guys' eyes. It's really quite an amazing metamorphosis for this song from generation to generation to generation and I'm so proud to be a part of that with you guys.
EMILY: Thank you.
NATALIE: Thanks. We wish we had a pinky of song writing talent that you have.
STEVIE: Well .
LON HELTON: The question is, Stevie: When you wrote this, did you envision banjo in this? (laughter)
No response.
NATALIE: Oh, is she gone again?
LON HELTON: I guess she didn't like that question either.
NATALIE: Banjo is a sore subject with a lot of people. (laughter)
LON HELTON: But you envisioned banjo Emily?
EMILY: This was a tough song for me to get used to the idea of doing just because it is such a famous song. When you pick something like this you want to do it justice and you want either do it better than the original artist or completely different. I knew we couldn't do it any better than Stevie so it was really a matter of can we put a new twist on it and so, really, our instrumentation and our harmonies I think helped do that.
4. Landslide
LON HELTON: I don't know if we'll hear from Stevie Nicks again. Natalie, you said you think you know what happened
to Stevie
NATALIE: Oh, I said she was probably on her assistant's cell phone driving through the hills. That's what she's doing every time I talk to her.
LON HELTON: Right now we want to go to Martha, who is in Austin, Texas tonight. Hi Martha.
MARTHA: Hello?
MARTHA: Hi. First of all. I love y'all. Y'all are awesome.
NATALIE: Thank you.
MARTHA: I just want to know what it was like for y'all speaking of Stevie Nicks the longevity that she's had? She's such a great songwriter. Are y'all still awestruck when you worked with her? Does she inspire you?
NATALIE: You know, she doesn't make you feel like that. We would be, but she is so warm and such a supporter. A lot of females in this industry I don't know are of supportive of each other. I think with people like Stevie Nicks and Emmylou Harris, who have been through it, they have lots of advice and she's so open with her life and her history and her mistakes and just supports us and came out to our show in California and sat there the whole set and just looked really into it. She's always an inspiration to talk to, let alone listen to her song writing and her music. She'll write me these little notes and things that are as poetic as her lyrics. She's just a brilliant, beautiful writer. All around.
LON HELTON: Any talk at all, you mentioned to her about songwriting, any chance you guys might write with her? Do you ever talk about it?
NATALIE: She said if we have melodies and things, to send them on and she'd write lyrics. So when we're writing for the next album, that might be something that we look into. She's a great lyricist. She writes a lot on her own. She has a good story. She was talking to Tom Petty before she made this last record of hers and wasn't feeling inspired or that she could write anything. She just asked him, "Come write with me." and he said. "You don't need me to write with you. You can write all about yourself." She went home and wrote a song about that on the new album which, what was that called?
EMILY: I can't remember
NATALIE: Something "I write my songs myself/And that made me stronger, made me hold on."
EMILY: A perfect example of her personality: We were at the Divas show. Martie and Natalie were talking about throwing me a baby shower here coming up. And, she was so like, "Would you invite me to your baby shower." I was going, "Stevie Nicks is asking me if she can come to my baby shower. I'm like that would be a yes."
LON: Let's get right to the phone here. Cary is in Pittsburgh.
CARY: Hi guys. How you doing.
CARY: My wife and I love your music and we have a question and a small requestion. First, we wanna know if you guys had any professional musical training in school and what did you study? And second, our son, who turns 1 tomorrow loves your music and if you could wish him a Happy Birthday I'm sure he'll appreciate that.
LON HELTON: What's his name?
CALLER: Carter
NATALIE: Aw. Marties' step, well I don't know what you call him now.
EMILY: Her ex-stepson.
MARTIE: Ex-stepson.
NATALIE: is named Carter
MARTIE: Is he listening right now.
CALLER: Ya, he actually is.
MARTIE: How old is he?
CALLER: He's turning 1 tomorrow. And his favorite song is "There's Your Trouble". He bobs his head in the carseat whenever he hears it.
EMILY: Well Happy Birthday Carter from the Dixie Chicks.
NATALIE: Happy Birthday.
LON HELTON: And his other question was now I forgot. Professional music training, that was it. Martie you went to SMU.
MARTIE: Yes, I took violin lessons all growing up from age of 5 and then went on and had a couple scholarships to college so the musical training actually afforded me a chance to go to several different colleges and I chose Southwestern University in Georgetown and then SMU and I was a music major. So, I can kind of read music.
EMILY: After all that.
MARTIE: After three years of college I can kind of read music but it definitely helped in what I do today.
EMILY: Martie and I's parents started us on Suzuki method violin so even now I'm playing banjo it was a prerequisite in our family that you had to start on violin at 5 and learn to read music. Go through all of that. Ya, I never went to college 'cause I was already in the Chicks but we were always in orchestra and things like that plus we took private lessons on the side as well.
LON HELTON: Natalie how about you?
NATALIE: No, I never did. I went to Berklee School of Music for a semester but....when you learn theory and notation and things like that...if you don't practice it for two weeks you forget.
LON HELTON: She'd rather sing wildly in her hotel room. Right
NATALIE: Exactly
LON HELTON: We've got an e-mail here from Mary who was watching the Today Show the other day when you guys were on and she says, "Saw you guys...you were great on the Today Show. Natalie, too bad it was so windy." (Laughter)
NATALIE: I could maybe tell a slightly "R-rated" story, but I...
LON HELTON: It's late. Feel free.
NATALIE: I wasn't wearing panties, and I prefer that way quite often in my life. Usually we don't play outdoors, and when we were making our way to the door and I saw the flags really blowing in the breeze I started panicking and trying to yell at everyone, "Somebody go get me some panties." Then they're like, "You're on in 45 seconds." And I was going, "Oh my God!" I went out there and, afterwards, Matt Lauer, word travels fast. I only said that to about 10 people, but Matt Lauer came up and said, "That would have been a first." I'm telling the guy, "My skirt might blow up."  "It's your decision." I said, "No, it's not. It's your decision. This is the Today Show. You tell me what you want." (laughter)
LON HELTON: How much of the Dixie Chicks would you like to see?
NATALIE: If we were to look back at the tapes, they stay on my head a lot.
EMILY: So you don't know what the live audience actually saw or the band behind us. They got the best shot.
LON HELTON: What time do you guys have to show up for the Today Show?
NATALIE: We were told we had the record on that. Our call time was 3:30. We're like J-Lo times three. (Laughter)
LON HELTON: Is this high maintenance time?
EMILY: Well, when you're having to play at 6 o'clock in the morning, you need a little more makeup than you usually need.
LON HELTON: Tell me about one of the new songs on the new CD, Home is "More Love."
MARTIE: Tim O'Brien and Gary Nicholson wrote that song and, actually, we're big fans of Tim's. He's a singer-songwriter musician in his own right. I actually took fiddle lessons from him one summer in Boulder, Colorado. For some of you bluegrass fans, you probably have heard his name quite a bit over the years. That was something he had on an album with Darrell Scott, and I brought it to the group while we were doing pre-production for this record. We just loved the sweet sentiment of the song. And it's kind of about more than love. It's kind of more about political love issues. Being married to a guy from Ireland and all the troubles he's experienced in Northern Ireland being a Catholic, it definitely has a special place in my heart.
5. More Love
LON HELTON: We're going to some phone calls now. Tony in Sandusky, Ohio.
TONY: How are you?
TONY: I love everything you do. I think the name the Dixie Chicks is just perfect
for anything
DIXIE CHICKS: (laughter) Anything? Wow!
TONY: Anything and everything.
NATALIE: Thank you.
LON HELTON: Dixie Chicks biscuits.
TONY: I wanted to find out what you guys like to do just to relax when you get off the road and just to get away from the business and everything.
MARTIE: Seems like Natalie and I spend a lot of our free time together playing poker at one of our houses.
MARTIE:Yeah, we like to play poker and different card games. What did he say about running around in our underwear.
NATALIE: We don't play strip poker.
LON HELTON: You're at a disadvantage there.
MARTIE: We all like to travel.
NATALIE: I've seen us naked.
LON HELTON: I meant you had less chips to play with.    
MARTIE: I love hanging out. I mean, our lives are so crazy most of the time, I like to hang out with my husband. And sometimes I just veg in front of the TV and click the channels.
LON HELTON: Do you find that you guys like to do the same things?
EMILY: I'm a little bit different. No. I live about two hours away from Austin, so I don't get invited to the poker games all the time. I live on a ranch, so I've really had fun in the last couple of years starting that up. I have a lot of animals, and we've started breeding horses and stuff like that. So it's not that relaxing at this point. It's a lot of work, but it definitely takes your mind off of things.
LON HELTON: Somebody else has a question along these lines. I want to go to Lovie, who's in Schenectady.
NATALIE: Hello Lovie
LOVIE: Hi. How are you?
NATALIE: We like your name
LOVIE: Thank you. I love you guys. You guys have changed my opinion of country music totally.
LOVIE: My question to you is how has your bonded friendship helped your music career with you guys as a group?
NATALIE: Wow. A million different ways. I think it's the only way bands can stay together and we always sort of marvel at the fact that we're at the same place in our lives all the time, even though we're different ages. It's never somebody wants to do something and the other one has really strong feelings against it. We're really lucky in the fact that we're on the same page musically and professionally. It's nice when there's a group, as well because if there's something that one person doesn't feel as passionately as another, the other one can take up the slack. It's great. I can't imagine having to be out here doing all this on my own.
LON HELTON: We have an e-mail that's along the same line and it's from Jennifer in Des Moines. She wants to know, "Which one of you holds the group together when things aren't going so good?
NATALIE: We take turns. That's the great thing. If somebody is not having a good day, then the other people recognize that and pick up the slack. Nobody gets mad or anything about that. We all take turns feeling our best.
EMILY: As far as professional hurdles and things like that, once again, when you know two other people are going through something, it doesn't seem quite, you don't feel so isolated from everything.
LON HELTON: I hadn't heard but I knew of "Godspeed" because I knew the story with the guy who wrote it, Radney Foster. Why don't you guys kind of pick it up and also tell me where and how you heard this for the first time.
MARTIE: I heard it at Summer Lights in Nashville, and Radney was performing it. He's the writer of the song. I remember watching his wife backstage just bawling her eyes out, and Radney barely being able to get through the song. We wondered what the story was behind it because it seemed like such a personal and emotional song. And apparently his first wife moved their small son to Paris, France, because she fell in love with a guy from there. Just picked up and moved the child away, and Radney was just devastated. For obvious reasons, he just couldn't just follow her to Paris. He wrote this song for his son so he could listen to it and feel closer to his dad. And to this day, the son, is how old now? Seven?
MARTIE: Nine and he listens to it every night before he goes to bed. So it was very emotional. We wanted to do the song justice because it is such a personal song, and they came to the studio and heard our rendition of it.
LON HELTON: Radney and his son .
MARTIE: Yes, he seemed very moved, and we were very moved to watch their bond together, and the son was leaning over the back of the chair hugging his dad and it just made me want to bawl.
NATALIE: His son still listens to it every night before he goes to bed, and it was special.
LON HELTON: This is so cool. This is probably one of those songs you guys might not have recorded five years ago.
EMILY: Definitely. Just starting families and now Natalie has a 17-month-old. Now I think it resonates with us more these days. I think we're very into the family mode right now, and it's a very sweet song.
LON HELTON: And you have a special guest on here. The only special guest on the album.
NATALIE: You know, it's hard in this group to get to have special guests because we pretty much have the bases covered. If we bring someone in to sing harmonies, then Martie or Emily get knocked off, so Emmylou was on Radney's version of this song, and she comes in with this mystical kind of angelic voice out of nowhere, and it was just too perfect. So we invited her into the studio and she did it again.
LON HELTON: Well, listen for Emmylou on this. It's just so haunting and it's so neat.
6. Godspeed
LON HELTON: While that was on, it was dead quiet in here. You guys kept your headphones on, and you were all just looking down just thinking. Martie, what were you thinking?
MARTIE: I was thinking how hard it was for me to get through it in the studio. Natalie sang it from beginning to end one time. Didn't do any fixes and we turned the lights down low and had candles lit. I, at that moment, thought about her and Slade and her bond with her son. I liked being able to hear some of the choke in her voice because I think she was really feeling it when she sang it. So every time I hear it, I remember that moment.
LON HELTON: We have to go to Emily.
EMILY: I was wondering what my baby's going to look like.
LON HELTON: Wow! And Natalie?
EMILY: She's thinking about her chicken that's on the way. (Laughter)
NATALIE: In all honesty, I was thinking about what a cutie David Letterman is and that we get to see him tomorrow. I was seriously thinking here daydreaming about David Letterman.
LON HELTON: Oh man, don't encourage him. He can be hard enough for you guys. That's right you guys are doing Letterman.
LON HELTON: Are you going to sing "Landslide"?
NATALIE: No. Tomorrow we're doing "White Trash Wedding".
LON HELTON: And if everyone wants to know what that songs about, hang on. I want to take a phone call right now. Terry is in Marysville. What do you want to ask the Chicks?
TERRY: Hi. If I was genie in a bottle and was to grant you each one wish, what would you wish for?
NATALIE: Well, can we exclude world peace or do you want the boring standard world peace answer? (Laughter)
LON: That's a given.
NATALIE: Other than world peace, I'd like to know everything. Really, I'd like to be a true intellect. I wish I knew poetry, and films and languages. I really wish that I had taken, well not taken that route other than this one, but I just love to think that people go to Harvard and become doctors and historians.
LON HELTON: They know stuff.
NATALIE: They do. They know things.
EMILY: And they all want to be rock stars. (Laughter)
LON HELTON: That's very true.
EMILY: The grass is always greener.
LON HELTON: What's your genie in a bottle wish Emily?
EMILY: That's tough. After that song I'm so sentimental. Probably just a healthy child is my main wish right now.
MARTIE: I think right now in my life I'd like to have a little girl. I like to know that I'm going to have a healthy little girl. I want that more than anything.
LON HELTON: As long as we're being personal here. You've put this on hold right? This baby stuff.
MARTIE: Yes, I'm not pregnant. Well, I haven't really put it on hold just nature.
LON HELTON: Do you guys have to like coordinate this. Now the tour starts in April so...
MARTIE: We do get on the same cycle sometimes because we're on the road so much together but I've really realized in this last few years that I've been trying, or last year that I've been trying to get pregnant, it's truly a miracle. It's not that easy for every woman. The older I get the more concerned I get and I'm about to have my 33rd birthday and it's not happening like I thought it would and it just gives me an appreciation for the miracle of life.
LON HELTON: It's kind of tough to go from miracle of life to "White Trash Wedding" You guys are going to do this on Letterman tomorrow. This song has a great story behind it.
MARTIE: I met my husband at Natalie's sister's wedding, two days after my divorce was final.
LON HELTON: That's a song in itself.
MARTIE: I didn't want to fall in love at that moment because I was afraid it was such a rebound, but I just looked at him and met him, and I just knew he was the one. But there was a lot of flack I was getting from my family and friends for various reasons and from his family because I wasn't a Catholic. I had been married before and, in the eyes of the Catholic church, a heathen. The priest in Austin wouldn't marry us in the church because I was so white trash. (Laughter) He didn't have any money and everybody kept saying 'Oh, he's just marrying her for her money and blah, blah, blah.' We actually went to Vegas, and he sat at the blackjack table all night until he won enough money to buy me a ring. I think that's really sweet. But it's very white trash.
EMILY: He could have ended up the other way, and you would have had to pay up.
LON HELTON: What would have happened if the cards wouldn't have been going good?
MARTIE: He was na´ve. He thinks you win in Vegas and, every time he goes, he wins. But anyway we sat around kind of talking about this and thought it would be a good subject matter for a song, so this is my ode to Gareth.
7. White Trash Wedding
LON HELTON: I just can't imagine how you sat down, said you know, let's do this. Just how that started.
NATALIE: Martie had the lines already. She had sort of started a ballad kind of song, a sentimental song.
LON HELTON: That was going to be a ballad?
NATALIE: Ya, that's what I said. She had the lines about buying a ring and about not being able to wear white and I just said, "That needs to be a nose-picking bluegrass tune (Laughter), a butt-picking bluegrass tune. We wrote it in 10 minutes. It came really easily, and the real magic happened in the studio with everybody playing their awesome solos. The instrumentation on that.
LON HELTON: That is some band you have too. I saw you guys live the other night in Nashville at the Ryman Auditorium. Amazing pickers. And it's amazing to me, this is going to sound really dumb. It's amazing to me how much when I heard this album, it sounds just like what you guys did live. I know that's dumb but I know that's the point.
MARTIE: Usually in the studio, you do it once, well a few times, to get it right and then you don't do it live a bunch. We really had to rehearse to remember exactly everything we did on the record and we cracked the whip. We'd turn to the guitar player and say 'No, you played a different lick right there.' We want it just like the record.They are incredible musicians and that's Bryan Sutton on the guitar, Adam Steffey on the mandolin. I think Byron House was on the bass at that time for that particular recording.
LON HELTON: Is that what you guys were arguing about a minute ago about the grammar of buy a ring for me.
NATALIE: Martie always says 'he saved up enough money to buy me a ring'.
MARTIE: Now does that sound odd?
LON HELTON: It sounds fine to me.
MARTIE: Buy me a ring.
LON HELTON: Angie, who is in Madison Heights, Va., would like to know, "What's the silliest thing the three of you have done together?"
MARTIE: Wrestle
NATALIE: We're wrestlers.
MARTIE: We actually have wrestling names, wrestling robes embroidered with our wrestling names on them and wrestling shorts. And I am the victor of them all.
NATALIE: We can't tell the names. Don't even ask. They're not radio friendly.
MARTIE: They're not PG.
LON HELTON: I can't even get a hint here? You have robes?
NATALIE: Yes, we do and we have scared people. We had this road manager once. Was that on the Tim McGraw tour or George Strait
EMILY: I think it was the Tim McGraw tour.
NATALIE: This always takes place after we've had just a tiny bit to drink. We're in the parking lot on gravel and me and Martie are just down and dirty wrestling. Our road manager is looking at Emily "Is everything OK between Natalie and Martie?" He was so worried.
EMILY: This is when you know they're getting along if they're on the ground wrestling.
MARTIE: People leaving the concert are watching this happening with their heads sticking out the windows going "What in the world?"
EMILY: It's just a release. Might have been inspired by the Celebrity Death Match on MTV.
LON HELTON: Right now to Selena in Sacramento who wants to talk to the Dixie Chicks.
SELENA: Hi. Oh my God. I can't believe I'm talking to you guys. My question is that I always hear about groups who come out with albums how it's really difficult to choose material to put on the album and I noticed that this album seems a little bit more reflective and meloncholy compared to the last two. And I'm just wondering if it's difficult for you guys to choose material that goes on your albums and if so, was there a particular song that maybe one of you felt really passionate about that didn't make the final cut?

NATALIE: That's a good question. That didn't happen on this one. There's been some passionate battles kind of fought on maybe the first two albums. I was not into "There's Your Trouble" and got out-voted on that one. Luckily so, it was a big huge success for us. (laughter) But on this one we were all really in agreement and we each have our own favorite song. My favorite song on this album is "Top Of The World" which we have not heard yet.
LON HELTON: I understand how Martie and Emily kinda go along a musical path 'cause you're the sisters and same family and all that. This album would seem, because it is different for you guys, acoustic and bluegrass. You all did have to arrive at some point together. So if Martie and Emily are down that path cause you guys went to bluegrass festivals as kids for a long time so Natalie, how did you get to the point where you were on this path that you could say, "Hey, I want to do an acoustic/bluegrass album?"
NATALIE: Well, I became a fan probably when we went to Merle Fest like five years ago. And just watching bluegrass music is, even to become introduced to it, it's so much better to watch it than to just hear it. It's like speed metal with the mandolins, banjos and fiddles. It's so impressive and the atmosphere at one of those festivals is wonderful. Martie and Emily always talked about how they grew up, getting taught by really great musicians at these festivals. It's really the only kind of world that is like that, where the elders really try to pass down the knowledge and the musicianship. So we've just all just been listening to a lot of that in our time off. I became an Alison Krauss fanatic and gave birth to Allison Krauss. (laughter) It could have been anyone.
LON HELTON: That would come as a surprise to her mother.
NATALIE: We were all at the same point at the same time. And I think Martie and Emily probably, well I don't know that they were willing to go there on the first 2 records. They were kind of ready to get away from that.
MARTIE: We have really diverse tastes in music and I really believe that Natalie can sing any kind of music. I know that we like such a variety of things. I can even see us taking another departure somewhere down the line and doing something even a little more rockin'. So there's really no limits because our CD collections are so diverse but it is hard to find great songs and I do regret not having much time to write for this record. You know we're taking time off and then all of a sudden we want to go in the studio and we really hadn't had time to write that much. It was really only the second time the three of us wrote together which is so strange because we all like to write and we had never really sat down together except one time before and it was easy. It was nice. It's comfortable. We're comfortable around each other. We can tell each other when our ideas suck. (laughter)
LON HELTON: That leads me into, if you're going to write music for a bluegrass album, who are you going to call?
DIXIE CHICKS: Marty Stuart.
LON HELTON: We'll talk about him writing with you in Austin as we get along here.

8. Tortured, Tangled Hearts
LON HELTON: "Tortured, Tangled Hearts" was written by Natalie, Martie and Marty Stuart. Emily, what happened to you?
EMILY: Every excuse I have for why I'm not someplace is I was at the doctor's office. And it's true. People ask me what I did on my time off, and I'm like, "I was at the doctor's office." Every other day.
LON HELTON: And Natalie and Martie, I love the story you guys told at the Ryman Auditorium when you were doing your live show for everybody debuting this album. About wondering about which Marty was going to show up.
NATALIE:: Well, we'd never seen the other Marty, but we were hoping that the Marty with the rhinestone jacket and the big quaff and the tight jeans and cowboy boots was going to come ring at my doorbell. And that's exactly who showed up.
LON HELTON: I don't think anyone has seen the other Marty.
EMILY: They called me right after he left. You won't believe that he shows up and
he looks exactly like you think he's going to look.
MARTIE: That's how we wanted him to look. Definitely.
LON HELTON: Martie, you said he got off the plane with that song pretty much written.
MARTIE: Yes. He got inspired on the way over. We have so much respect for him. I love his philosophy of music. He has had so much commercial success, and he's so respected among his peers and critics but he doesn't care about chart-topping hits. He does scores for movies. He's just an all-around great guy. Gets very involved in Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, and he's just really a great example for people in country music.
LON HELTON: As luck might have it, Marty's on the phone with us. Hey Marty.
LON HELTON: The Chicks said that you showed up and you were what they were hoping. Does it work the other way around?
MARTY STUART: Absolutely.
LON HELTON: Tell me about writing with these ladies.
MARTY STUART: They didn't contribute nothing. (Laughter.)
NATALIE: We already told him that.
MARTY STUART: Natalie had some coffee, that's all. No, it was a blast. It's the hardest thing in the world just to kind of get together and write a letter with somebody you've never really met before. I appreciated their work and love their music. I knew they had a direction in mind, so we just kind of showed up and God showed up and gave us some cool ideas and we had magic.
LON HELTON: Who's idea was it to call Marty to write with you guys for this album?
MARTIE: We had heard from our publicist that maybe he had mentioned writing with us. We don't know if that's true or not.
MARTY STUART: I think that's right. Kathy...
MARTIE: We were so excited 'cause we feel like we're from similar backgrounds and we love your stuff. Thought we would be a great match.
MARTY STUART: Well, it worked. The other night at the Ryman..it never ceases to amaze me how you can just make a song come to life in somebody's living room, and then the next thing you see it on television and the next thing you see it performed on stage and entertaining people. Both songs were great but the ballad I especially just thought the Ryman kind of levitated the other night and went to another world. It was beautiful.
LON HELTON: Marty, give me your take on this song, then I'll ask the Chicks about "I Believe In Love" because two songs, how different can you get from "Tortured, Tangled Hearts" to "I Believe In Love"?
MARTY STUART: The beauty of country music. I think you know that when you absolutely get down to the truth of songwriting, you kind of have to get inside of your heart and soul and open up and reveal a piece of yourself that sometimes are private or vulnerable. I believe Martie, wasn't it you that brought out some personal memoirs or something? We won't tell 'em what it said.
MARTIE: From my first marriage.
MARTY STUART: Martie had kind of buried her soul in her notebook. She read two or three things off, and when she was talking, I just started playing some chords. And that song just kind of showed up out of nowhere, right in the middle of Austin, Texas.
LON HELTON: I know you're in the studio now but thanks for giving us a holler.
MARTIE: What a great surprise.
MARTY STUART: Congratulations on the record ladies. It's wonderful.
DIXIE CHICKS: Thank you.
9. I Believe In Love
LON HELTON: Ladies, we have a call from James who's in Rochester. James your'e on with the chicks..
JAMES: Hey, the Dixie Chicks. How's it going?
JAMES: At what age did you all begin singing at?
NATALIE: I started singing at age 2. My first two songs were "You Are My Sunshine" and "Shake Your Bootie."
LON: Now wait a minute
NATALIE: It's true.
LON: I'm pondering Shake Your Bootie and wrestling all at the same time here. I just can't get over it.
EMILY: Martie and I were playing before we were singing. We were always taking lessons and things like that. I think singing kind of came when we got into bands, and we needed harmony parts and things like that.
MARTIE: Age 5 was the age that my mother started all three girls in the family on stringed instruments.
LON HELTON: Let's talk about another song. You have two songs on this album from Patty Griffin who was out with you guys on the Fly tour. Tell me about "Top of the World." When you guys did this at the Ryman the other day, I mean, take this the right way. Natalie you look possessed as you were singing. (laughter) I mean it was so incredible and the strings. I don't know, 9, 10, 11 strings or however many so it's a little departure on this album with the strings going on, but it's just an amazing sound.
NATALIE: I probably get most lost in that song. It's my favorite song on the album. Patty Griffin had an album that never came out, but we all have copies of, and we joke that we wanted to pretty much remake that album. That would have been too lame, so we chose two songs.
LON HELTON: Patty would have appreciated it though I'm sure.
NATALIE: That song, it sort of helps people out a little bit to explain. It's hard to get exactly what she's talking about. It's about a man who has passed on, who is looking back at his family living and having regrets about the man that he was and wishing that he had had a more positive impact on the people around him and hadn't lived his life quite the way that he had. She's just one of those writers that, even though it's not on the surface relatable as a love song or breakup song is, there's just something about her writing that paints a picture. It takes you to a place where it doesn't have to be exactly what you're going through or what you've gone through to relate to it. Her songwriting is abstract and poetic, and everything is there with Patty -- her voice, her melodies and her words. We would strive to be as good a songwriter as she is. This is her favorite song that she's ever written, which is huge coming from her. When we were making the record, we thought we would end it with "Godspeed." Once "Top of the World" was recorded, we decided that that was really a much better way to end the album.
LON HELTON: Hard to top this.
10. Top Of The World
LON HELTON: What a wonderful piece of music. And the strings came from, I mean, it had to be right? Just had to be.
LON HELTON: Obviously struck another emotional chord here.
LON HELTON: Alright ladies, we are running late. I don't know how. Someone here talked way too much. The tour starts April through...
LON HELTON: About 50 dates or so
LON HELTON: Thank you so much for just a wonderful new album and it's great to have you guys back with new music and just super stuff.
DIXIE CHICKS: Thank you for having us.

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