Template:Infobox musical artist Martie Maguire is an American songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and a founding member of the multiple Grammy Award-winning female alternative country-rock band: the Dixie Chicks.

Early life Edit

Childhood Edit

Martha Elenor Erwin (nicknamed "Martie") was born October 12 1969, in York, Pennsylvania,[1] but was raised in Addison, a northern suburban town on the edge of Dallas, Texas, with an older sister, Julia, and younger sister, Emily, to parents Paul Erwin and Barbara Trask. Encouraged by her parents- both educators at private schools - Maguire began playing classical violin at age five, and by age 12, was learning to play "fiddle style", with a birthday gift of fiddle lessons,[2] and was active in her school orchestra.[3] Emily Erwin, (later known as Emily Robison), three years her junior, also shared an early talent, interest and love of music, and the two were provided musical instruction on several instruments. Because of this, although Maguire became famous for her ability in vocal harmony, and mastery of the fiddle, she also plays a variety of stringed instruments that include the viola, guitar, mandolin, and bass.[4]

Playing in the band Edit

By 1983, Maguire was touring with her sister Emily and school friends; siblings Troy and Sharon Gilchrist.[5] The sisters showed an "almost obsessive" interest in busking at small venues and attending bluegrass festivals.[6] The four students formed the teenage bluegrass group "Blue Night Express", playing together for 5 years, from 1984-1989,[7] while still attending private Greenhill School in Addison, Texas.[4] "We'd drive down to the west end of Dallas and open our cases, and that was our job," Maguire said of it in a later interview to 60 Minutes II correspondent Dan Rather. "That's how we made money in high school."[8] In 1987, Maguire, known then still as Martha Erwin, was awarded second place for the fiddle in the National fiddle championships held yearly in Winfield, Kansas. After graduation of high school, with Robison yet to complete her secondary school studies, from 1988 to 1989, Maguire attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, performing in the school orchestra there and again in the National fiddle championships, earning third place that year.[9]

The original Dixie Chicks Edit

First formation of the band Edit

In 1989, Maguire and Robison joined guitarist Robin Lynn Macy and Laura Lynch on bassist playing what was at the time predominantly bluegrass music and a beguiling mix of country standards. When they were booked for their first paid appearances, they chose to call themselves the Dixie Chicks after a song, "Dixie Chicken" written by Lowell George of the band Little Feat.[10] Originally listed as Martie Erwin, Maguire played fiddle, mandolin, viola and harmonized with Robison on backing vocals within the band.[11]

In 1990, the Dixie Chicks paid $5,000 for a first independent studio album with the name,Thank Heavens for Dale Evans,[12] and in 1991 a Christmas single at the end of the year- a 45 rpm vinyl recording named "Home on the Radar Range", with "Christmas Swing" on one side and the song on the flip side in a clever play on words, named "The Flip Side". The record titles were significant; during that period of time, the bandmates dressed up as "cowgirls", and publicity photos reflected this image. However, even with an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry,[13] with few exceptions, such as Garrison Keillor's radio show, on PBS; A Prarie Home Companion,[14] they didn't get much national airplay.

Changing sound Edit

By 1992 the women had opened for several big name country musicians, including Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, and George Strait, among others, as well as releasing a second independent studio album,Little Ol' Cowgirl.[11] Although they had originally been billed as an "all cowgirl" or "all-girl" band,[3] they dropped that description as they enlisted the assistance of session musicians to produce a fuller, richer sound in their music.[12] Maguire commented, "I hope our fans won't be disappointed (in The Little Ol' Cowgirl); it's got drums on every track; it's no longer bluegrass, but we have to make a living and you can't do that playing bluegrass."[14] One of these sidemen was accomplished producer and steel guitarist Lloyd Maines, in nearby Lubbock, Texas, who played on both their second (and third) independent albums, and with whom they developed a mutual respect as musicians. In doing so, they met Lloyd's daughter, Natalie, who was also an aspiring musician. However, not all of the band members were pleased in the direction that their music was taking. Macy left, seeking a "purer bluegrass sound".[15] The remaining band gamely continued playing; they embarked upon a European mini tour, which they chronicled in a "Dixie Chick Chat" newsletter for fans,[12] but the trip wasn't a commercial career boost. With the gap left by Macy, Lloyd passed Natalie's audition demo tape that had won her a full scholarship to the Berklee School of Music, to Maguire and Robison.[16] Her distinctive voice was a match for Maguire's soprano and Robison's alto harmonies. As Maguire and Robison considered their options, and the major record labels waffled over whether they should take a risk on an all-women's band a few reviewers did see things differently:

"Some record label executives will be kicking themselves soon enough when the Dixie Chicks are queens of the honky-tonk circuit. If their show at the Birchmere last week was any indication, these Chicks have what it takes to make the big time, yet no major label has taken the plunge to sign them." Eric Brace, The Washington Post March 30 1992[17]

Unaware other possibilities were being considered by the Erwin sisters, Lynch, thrust into the role of sole lead singer on their third independent album, Shouldn't a Told You That in 1993, had been unable to attract support from a major record label even when she had a co-lead vocalist before. By 1995, she was replaced by Maguire and Robison with singer-songwriter Natalie Maines after the group was still unable to garner little more than local interest.[18] The change left the cowgirl dresses in the past, leaving the band with a more contemporary look and a sound that was broader in appeal.[19]

Success with a new vocalist Edit

Emergence of the current band Edit

After Natalie Maines assumed the position of lead vocalist, the band was revitalized. Maguire said of their music, "It's very rootsy, but then Natalie comes in with a rock and blues influence. That gave Emily and I a chance to branch out, because we loved those kinds of music but felt limited by our instruments." [20] The "new" Dixie Chicks took to the road, and were scouted and signed by Sony's Monument Records in 1996.[12] A single "I Can Love You Better" was released in October 1997, and reached the Top 10 on American country music charts, while the new lineup recorded the rest of their debut album. The finished result was released on January 27, 1998. Although it was the fourth album for the "Dixie Chicks", most fans now consider it their first, because it was their first major label release, and with Maines, the band's look and sound changed significantly. This first album for the current band added a widespread audience to their original loyal following, entering the top five on both country and pop charts[21] with initial sales of 12 million copies in the country music arena alone, taking the record for the best-selling duo or group album in country music history.[19] In 1998 the Dixie Chicks sold more CDs than all other country music groups combined.[22]

Wide Open Spaces Edit

Both as a single and an album, Wide Open Spaces flowed musically and harmoniously. The title song, although written by folksinger Susan Gibson, provided lyrics that all three members felt were so semi-biographical in nature, that years later in October, 2006 they commented on it on a Vh1 storytellers program before performing the song.

"Many precede and many will follow,
A young girl's dream no longer hollow,
It takes the shape of a place out west;
But what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed
She needs wide open spaces,
Room to make her big mistakes,
She needs new faces,
She knows the high stakes."[23]

Big Country music took note of the Chicks, awarding them the Horizon Award for new artists in 1998, which, according to CBS News, is "given to someone expected to have a long, successful career".[24] By 1999, the album won the new line up their first Grammy Awards as well as acclaim from the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music, and other high profile awards. The album yielded five singles ranking in the top ten in the American Billboard charts, and of them, three became number one hits. In 1998, the Dixie Chicks sold more CDs than all other country music groups combined.[22]

Early commercial success and a second album, FlyEdit

After the "new trio" surprised even their own record label with the overwhelming popularity of their first album together, the band produced another rare RIAA certified diamond album, Fly, in August, 1999, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts selling over 10 million copies, and making the Dixie Chicks the only female group in history to have earned two RIAA Diamond Awards.[25] As of 2008, Wide Open Spaces has sold more than 30.5 million copies, (a "quadruple platium" album)[26] and with Fly, both albums have ranked so high in sales that the Dixie Chicks are not only the highest selling female band in U.S. history, but they have albums that continue to place in the list of the 50 best-selling albums in American history, over a half-decade after they were released.[27] Fly again won Grammy awards and honors from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music, and a humbling amount of honors from a variety of other sources for their accomplishments.[24][28] The band headlined their first tour in 1999, (the Fly tour), showcasing other musicians at each show, including Ricky Skaggs, Joe Ely, and other noteworthy musicians,[29] and in addition, they joined Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLaughlin,[27] and other female artists on the all-woman touring Lilith Fair, which Maguire later described as a very supportive experience.

Dispute with their record label Edit

After the commercial success of their first two albums, the band became involved in a dispute with their record label, Sony, in July 2001, regarding accounting procedures, alleging that in at least 30 cases Sony had used fraudulent accounting practices, underpaying them at least $4 million (£2.7m) in royalties on their albums over the previous three years.[30] Sony held out, and the trio walked away, with Sony suing the group for failure to complete their contract,[31] however, the Chicks' lawsuit had added clout to claims made by rockers Courtney Love and Aimee Mann as well as LeAnn Rimes against the recording industry.[32] After months of negotiation, the Chicks settled their suit privately, and were awarded a their own label, "Open Wide Records" which afforded them more control, a better contract, and an increase in royalty money, with Sony still responsible for marketing and distribution of albums.[4][22]

Creation of Home Edit

While the Chicks wrangled with Sony, they wrote songs without as much emphasis on drums, and a less commercial sound.[33] One song, "Lil' Jack Slade" is an instrumental song, and two songs from folksinger Patty Griffin are covered. Emmylou Harris contributed vocals to one of the songs. Lloyd Maines had produced records for a diverse group of other artists, as with David Byrne, and the Lost Gonzo Band, so the Dixie Chicks produced the album, Home with him.[34] Again, they won Grammy awards, and other noteworthy accolades as before, although it fell short of reaching the diamond record status of the first two albums. Natalie Maines said afterward, "I want to check the record books and see how many fathers and daughters have won Grammys together."[35] By 2002, the Dixie Chicks were featured on two television specials: An Evening with the Dixie Chicks which was a compilation of their first tours, and a CMT three hour television special, the 40 Greatest Women of Country Music. Ranked #13 out of 40, they were "selected by hundreds of artists, music historians, music journalists and music industry professionals -- looking at every aspect of what a great artist is.."[36]

To the top of the world Edit

The tour that followed the release of Home was named after a song on the album, "Top of the World", composed by Patty Griffin, but it also was a high point for the Dixie Chicks. As soon as they had negotiated a new contract with their label, and had received their own label imprint, Home was released, with Top of the World Tour: Live and a follow-up DVD released in 2003.[4] Early 2003 brought another boost of exposure for the Chicks, as they performed the "Star Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl. Robison described the mood at the time as being "upbeat".

Songwriting and filmscores Edit

Composing songs Edit

Maguire had begun writing and recording songs as early as the original "foursome" version of the Dixie Chicks, on their debut independent album, Thank Heavens for Dale Evans; and one song in particular, co-written with Laura Lynch called "Pink Toenails" surfaced in 2001. The song was featured in the film, Don't Say A Word, with Skye McCole Bartusiak performing the number.[37] Maguire co-wrote the song, "Cowboy Take Me Away", which was recorded on the Dixie Chicks second studio album Fly for her sister Emily, during her courtship to country music singer Charlie Robison.[2] Emily subsequently married, changing her name to Emily Robison in 1999. Maguire was singled out by BMI in 2000, and awarded Songwriter of the Year for writing and/or co-writing "Cowboy Take Me Away," "Ready To Run" and "You Were Mine"; the last being co-written with Robison, about their parent's divorce.[38]

Exploring film and play soundtracksEdit

In 1999, Maguire became involved in the use of her music for use in films or plays. The Dixie Chicks performed two songs, recording a cover of the song, You Can't Hurry Love as well as Maguire's "Ready to Run" to the film Runaway Bride, starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.[39] Maguire was nominated for a Tony Award in 2003, for co-composing the film score to Urban Cowboy; the musical, using the song she had co-written, "Cowboy Take Me Away".[35]

Controversy and public opinionEdit

Although Maguire and Robison often appear quiet and demure compared to their animated bandmate Natalie Maines, the trio have stood united on controversial subjects almost since they joined as a band, even when their opinions have had the potential to serve them harm more than to accomplish their goals. When Sony worried that their name might offend Northerners and Feminists, they refused to reconsider.[8] They performed a few songs that raised eyebrows within their conservative country music fan base; both "Sin Wagon", from which the term "mattress dancing" takes on a new twist, and "Goodbye Earl," a song that uses black comedy in telling the story of the unabashed murder of an abusive husband caused some radio stations removing the Chicks from their playlists, but the group was consistently unapologetic.[40] In 2005, the Chicks joined 31 other recording artists, including Dolly Parton, Christina Aguilera, Yoko Ono, and Mandy Moore supporting relationships of all kinds, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity on a double disk release entitled, Love Rocks, with their song from the album Home called, "I Believe In Love".[41]

Some of the largest (and most personal) examples that have made the Dixie Chicks so controversial, however, include Maguire and Robison's support of Maines' 2003 criticism of United States President George W. Bush's choice of a pre-emptive strike on Iraq, which lost the band an estimated half of their audience in the United States. That same anti-war position also led the American Red Cross to refuse a donation of $1,000,000.00 because of their controversial political standing. Other concerns include controversy (particularly between some Christian sects) in the Southern bible belt concerning IVF, (both Maguire and Robison were unable to conceive without it), support for stem cell research (all three women have had grandparents suffering from alzheimers; Maines co-wrote a song called "Silent House" with Neil Finn of Crowded House about her grandmother's memory loss), and the band's support for liberal causes, including those for Gay and Lesbian rights. Each of these issues have erupted in controversy of on one level or another, often moving them a bit further from their original fan base, but all three agree that they prefer to have an audience who appreciate them for who they are, and are unwilling to mince words just for financial gain.

See also: Dixie Chicks political controversy

Personal lifeEdit

Family lifeEdit

Martie married pharmaceutical representative Ted Seidel on June 17, 1995, and changed her surname to his, becoming Martie Seidel, as well as the stepmother to his son, Carter. Brad Paisley emerged as a new country music singer who co-wrote a song about child watching as his mother kept being rejected by her dates upon learning that she had a child, and his gratitude to the man who was able to look beyond that, caring for them both. Martie wrote to tell him she was moved both because she was now a stepmother, and had a stepfather as well. The song was called,"He Didn't Have to Be," and Maguire joined him in performing it onstage in a concert on a CMT showcase program, "On The Verge", saying the song "struck a chord" in her".[42] However, her marriage did not last, and she and Ted Seidel were divorced in November, 1999.[2]

At bandmate Natalie Maines' sister Kim's wedding Martie met Gareth Maguire, a Roman Catholic teacher and actor from Northern Ireland. The couple became engaged in June, 2001, and married August 10, 2001, in a civil ceremony in Hawaii. Later they had a Catholic "blessing" ceremony in the groom's hometown, Carnlough in County Antrim, Ireland, on March 9, 2002, for all the guests that were not able to attend the first wedding. She said of the ceremony that the Catholic Church would not permit a wedding service due to her prior divorce. Maguire says ruefully that there were so many "special" people that they'd wanted to include, but that they just couldn't wait to marry.[43] Part of the reason for the rush was Gareth's need to keep flying back and forth because of visa considerations.[44] After her marriage, Martie changed her name to that of her new husband, which is why in her musical career she has had the surnames of Erwin, Seidel, and now, Maguire.

Infertility and motherhoodEdit

Maguire has been frank about using invitro fertilization to conceive their twins. In an interview in Conceive Magazine, she said, "All my paperwork said 'unspecified origin'. We spent three years of active trying before we went to IVF. First I went on Clomid. Then I had some dye tests and found I had a collapsed tube, so I had laparoscopic surgery; the tube wasn't blocked, just spasming." After three attempts at intrauterine insemination, she said, she and her husband didn't think it was worth continuing in that manner, and switched to IVF.[45] Martie and Gareth have two children, twin daughters Eva Ruth and Kathleen 'Katie' Emilie, born April 27, 2004. In August 2007, Maguire began IVF again and announced her pregnancy with another daughter due in the summer of 2008.[46] In an interview with People Magazine she said, "Carrying one instead of two will be much easier." Regarding the number of children the Dixie Chicks have produced in the past seven years, (Maines has two and Robison has three in addition to Maguire's twins) Maguire responded, "We'll have to move over and let the little chicks take over! We've got a new band!"[46] Maguire and Robison co-wrote a song, "So Hard", about their own personal experiences with infertility and their need to rely on other methods to conceive. They speak out about the difficulties they faced, but also their good fortune; both having options that for many women are financially prohibitive. Mentioning the stigma attached to IVF, Magurie said, "I think we feel a responsibility to break down some barriers. It's much more of a common problem than people realize."[47] Both sisters feel strongly that the issue needs more candid discussion.[48] A final concern Maguire mentioned was the question of what to do with all the unused frozen embryos. "Now that I have children, I see those embryos as possible children. So I have to think about what my options are if there are leftovers again. I could keep them in storage, and maybe they will help my children some day. Or I can try to donate them to stem cell research. I don't think I could give them to another family," she admits. "I would always worry: what if it's an abusive family? What if they don't get enough love?"[45]

Philanthropic efforts and other causes Edit

The Dixie Chicks have supported a variety of causes, which include environmental issues, GLBT rights, political activism, Rock the Vote, PBS appearances and collaborations with other musicians to help raise money for charity after Hurricane Katrina, and other issues. In 2001, the band joined other celebrities performing live on a commercial-free television collaboration of ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC television networks simulcast, in a program titled America: A Tribute to Heroes, to raise money after the 9/11 tragedies, with the money, royalties, and a subsequent DVD and CD being released to raise money for victims in need.[29] In 2007, the Dixie Chicks began to actively support Conservation International, an organization seeking to educate and implement change on both a grassroots and corporate level to slow global warming. They posted information on their website, asking for public support.[49]

Other interestsEdit


For further information, see: Dixie Chicks#Awards


See also: Dixie Chicks discography
  • 1988 The Dixie Chicks provided a track ("Stand By Your Man")on Tribute To Tradition; an album promoted by Sony, in tribute to famous stars of a previous generation- in their case, Tammy Wynette; other contributing artists include Martina McBride, and Randy Travis.
  • Maguire played fiddle on the song, " Somewhere Down The Road" on the eponymous album, Deryl Dodd by Deryl Dodd on Sony.
  • 1999 Various Artists - "1999 Grammy Nominees (Mainstream)" Dixie Chicks supplied a version of "Wide Open Spaces".
  • July, 1999 Various Artists - Runaway Bride The soundtrack to a film, containing two songs performed by the Dixie Chicks: "Ready To Run" by the Dixie Chicks, and "You Can't Hurry Love".


  1. TV Guide
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ladies' Home Journal(Retrieved 13 March 2008)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gilchriest, Gail The Dixie Chicks Put Cowgirl Chic Back in the Saddle Elle Magazine 1991
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Leggett, Steve All-Music Guide writer on MSN (Retrieved 9 March 2008)
  5. Jam Base Sharon Gilchrist
  6. Frost, Jane Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS, Early 1980s The All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks Page Retrieved 3 December 2007
  7. Gilchrist, Sharon Faraway Hills Retrieved 12 February, 2008
  8. 8.0 8.1 Rather, Dan 60 Minutes IIDixie Chicks Not Whistling Dixie The Trio Has Sold 17 Million CDs 6 September 2002 Retrieved 26 June 2008
  9. Walnut Valley Association 1987 and 1989 National fiddle championships in archive Retrieved 2 March, 2008
  10. Tarnow, Noah Dixie Chicks Rolling Stone Magazine; 12/01/98 Issue 801, pg.37
  11. 11.0 11.1 Superior Pics Retrieved 23 March, 2008
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Brooks, Robert The All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks Timeline Retrieved 25 March, 2008
  13. Dixie Chicks Fans Net
  14. 14.0 14.1 Clark, Renee Can the Dixie Chicks make it in the big time? Local Heroes (Transcribed from) Dallas Life Magazine, Dallas Morning News, March 1, 1992 Retrieved 23 March, 2008
  15. "8 Note Online" Dixie Chicks Biography Retrieved 10 February 2008
  16. Redbook Dishing With The Dixie Chicks 3/01/2002 (Retrieved 23 March 2008)
  17. Brace, Eric Dated March 30 1992 The Washington Post(Retrieved 28 March 2008)
  18. Dickerson, James L. (2000) Dixie Chicks: Down-Home and Backstage. Taylor Trade Publishing, Dallas, Texas. ISBN 0-87833-189-1.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Ankeny, Jason Vh1 Dixie Chicks Biography All-Music Guide
  20. Malkin, Nina [1] (Retrieved 31 December 2007)
  21. Smith, Chris The Vancouver Sun "100 Albums You Need To Own" (Retrieved 4 January 2008)
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Elle Retrieved 30, May, 2008 Dixie Chicks Biography
  23. Gibson, Susan Lyrics, Wide Open Spaces by Susan Gibson
  24. 24.0 24.1 Retrieved 2 February 2008 Dixie Chicks Riding High
  25. Country Music (Retrieved 20 April 2008)
  26. RIAA Certification Website Retrieved 4 March 2008
  27. 27.0 27.1 Willman, Chris Rednecks & Bluenecks: The Politics of Country Music By Chris Willman, 2005 pg. 21-23 ISBN 1595580174
  28. Awards list from Dixie Chicks Fans site Retrieved 7 April, 2008
  29. 29.0 29.1 [2] Dixie Chicks Official site
  30. BBC News Wednesday, 29 August 2001 Dixie Chicks sue Sony for $4m Retrieved 26, June 2008
  31. (Retrieved 13 June 2008) Sony sues Dixie Chicks for Breach of Contract
  32. The Boston Globe October 7, 2001
  33. Hermes, Will Retrieved 20 April 2008 NPR Music All Things Considered
  34. Nichols, Lee Lloyd Maines: The Guy Is Everywhere The Austin Chronicle|pages=vol16/issue10|accessdate=2008-06-07
  35. 35.0 35.1 Dixie Chicks website
  36. CMT's 40 Greatest Women of Country Music, Retrieved 13 June 2008
  37. Yahoo Movie Review for Don't Say a Word Retrieved 22 March, 2008
  38. Hillman, Chris Entertainment Weekly (Retrieved 21 April 2008)
  39. Lyrics to Runaway Bride Soundtrack
  40. Quelland, Sarah MetroActive Music: Whistlin' Dixie Who knew the world's most controversial band would be three gals from Texas? Retrieved 15 January, 2008
  41. 2005|1|28 Love Rocks Album from a variety of artists Retrieved 25 May, 2008
  42. Paisely, Brad "He Didn't Have To Be" (Retrieved 20 January, 2008)
  43. CMT Online, CMT Online (Retrieved 25 September, 2005)
  44. Minchin III, James R. and Lieberman, Ellen InStyle Magazine; February 2003, Vol. 10 Issue 2, pg. 244 Retrieved 25 September 2005]
  45. 45.0 45.1 Weinhouse, Beth. (Fall issue, 2007) Conceive Magazine Online The Dixie Chicks Taking The Long Way...To Motherhood
  46. 46.0 46.1 People Magazine (accessed 28 January 2008)Dixie Chick Martie Maguire Is Expecting
  47. Frontpage Publicity (found 1 February 2008)Dixie Chicks Official Website
  48. PBS Exclusive PBS Exclusive "So Hard"
  49. Dixie Chicks Website Support of Conservation International
  50. Listing of Simpsons performances on a multimedia site- Most recent contribution: aired on 13th April 2008

External linksEdit

Template:Dixie Chicksit:Martie Maguire fi:Martie Maguire sv:Martie Maguire

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