Yesterday I went to a concert — a Dixie Chicks concert. They’ve taken a lot of media flack throughout their careers, most of which I’m not entirely sure was warranted.
They got a lot of flack as musicians and as people for their history. But you know what? I reject all of the flack.
What I went to last night was an incredible display of unbelievable musicianship. I’ve been to a few concerts, and in that time, while I’ve seen great performers (Emerson Drive, Keith Urban, Third Day), I’ve never seen anyone that I think was better live than they were on their CD.
The energy was electric. It was unbelievable.
I’ve enjoyed concerts — each one I’ve gone to has been great. But I’ve never screamed, and sang at the top of my lungs, and danced along, and been happy to be on my feet most of the time (though I’m very glad I wore sneakers and not spiky high heels like my dear friend did).
The way Natalie, the lead singer, can nail those notes, in front of thousands of people, and hold them with such incredible power… it was unreal. It gave me chills several times.
The way each of them can play several instruments was inspiring.
The way Martie, the fiddle player, can make holding that bow and drawing the sound out of the strings look SO EASY was both breath taking and frustrating for me. Being a fiddle player myself, I know that what Martie makes look unbelievably easy is NOT easy at ALL. The fiddle is so much more challenging than I thought it would be, but I’m in it now and I love it, so I’m sticking to it.
The way Emily can flip back and forth between sliding on her guitar to playing acoustic or electric guitar, and then to the banjo without blinking an eye — awesome.
And I know — I know that there are many artists who can stay on pitch live, and who rock out with piles of energy from the stage. I know there are many artists who deserve accolades for their talent. But tonight I write about the Dixie Chicks because I feel they’ve gone without the accolades they’ve deserved for a long time.
I don’t care if you don’t like their style. That’s not what I’m here to convince you of right now. There are a lot of musicians out on stages all over the world right now whose music I would not listen to if given an option not to. But can I see their talent? Absolutely. I can’t speak globally, here, but I see a big trend across Canada and the US where if we think someone’s particular musical style is bad, we write them off as bad. Don’t like pop music? All pop singers are fake, in it for the money, and lack talent. (This, of course, may be true for some, but certainly not for all of them.)
Don’t like country music? Well naturally that’s because every song is written about a truck, beer, or a dog, and they’re all twangy and that crap. Well, they may be twangy, but that’s country music. The musicianship is there, so are the song writing skills. I’d love to see a world where everyone could appreciate the talent of others without having to want to buy an album or listen to the music in their own spare time. This is something I’ve tried to impart on my students when they (particularly the older boys) cover their ears and scream “my ears are bleeding!” when they hear a One Direction or a Justin Bieber song. You know what? I don’t like their style, either. But there’s talent there, and I’d love to see everyone be able to appreciate that in everyone else.
I don’t think it’ll happen, but just in case I can sway a few opinions, check out this instrumental by the Dixie Chicks, live in concert (this was not last night).
Here are a few pictures from last night, all of which were taken on my iPhone.