From the Rockin' DC Ranch
Before they hit the big time -- and one time after -- the Dixie Chicks sent a newsletter to their loyal fans. The irregularly published Chick Chat was a facinating stream-of-conciousness look into the lives of a group of talented young ladies (and gentlemen) struggling with life on the road.
Found! Suzanne Lamb, whose Dixie Chicks Scrapbook is also featured on this site, found and sent me a copy of the elusive one-sheet 1996 Chick Chat welcoming new lead singer Natalie Maines and saying goodbye to founding Chick Laura Lynch. This is the last issue featuring the Western motif designed by George Toomer. By the time the glossy 1997 issue of the Chick Chat was issued, announcing the arrival of Wide Open Spaces, their image had changed completely. Suzanne's copy was postmarked 6/4/1996.
For an deeper insight into the emotions surrounding Laura's departure, see the Editor's Notes, below.
"It's been awhile since you've heard a peep. We've been on the road no time to sleep. Our impatiens are thin, and the chickweed's deep, no time to hoe, got dates to keep. Our fridges are green, our plants are brown, our cats are lonely without us around. Poultry in motion is what we have been, so a quick hello and we're off again."
[The publicity photo, credited to John Scarpatti]
On May 9th we returned from our first tour of Japan. Our adventure started on Okinawa where we entertained hoopin', hollering homesick soldiers at the Officers' Clubs on Kadena Air Force Base. (It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it).
Next stop - Kumamoto: When we arrived in this beautiful city, we were greeted by the Mayor, given a tour of Kumamoto Castle, Suizenji Park, and the Coca Cola factory. Thanks to our entourage, Kumamoto may now be experiencing a trinket and sushi shortage.
Later that night, Martie cut a rug with the V.P. of Coca Cola at the local country bar, Goodtime Charlie's, and we sat in with the band and played such favorites as "Ca-ri-ja" and "Rouisiana Saturday Night".
On the last night, we headlined the 7th annual Country Gold Festival where we performed for 1,800 Japanese country music diehards. Our host, and Japan's own country music pioneer, Charlie Nagatani, also played with his band The Cannonballs. He'll be making his way to Texas in October to do a show at Billy Bob's. You won't want to miss this!
[Note: according to a Dixie Chicks fan in Japan, Charlie Nagatani is still popular and is the organizer of the annual "Country Gold International Music Festival", which has attracted such big-name artists as Jo Dee Messina. If you (and your browser) know Japanese, check it out at countrygold.net!]
Let's Make a DealAs most of you know, we have long been in search of that elusive creature called the record deal. We finally have a contract in our eager little hands and a date with a recording studio in August, but that's all we're gonna give you for now.
Our focus is to write, write, write, and check the mail for any tapes you aspiring songwriters might send. Then we'll put our favorite songs in a hat and pull out an album's worth of tunes. We hear that's how all the big wigs do it.
Seven Year ItchIn March we celebrated our 7 year anniversary, and since day one down on that street corner we have saved every picture, news clipping, and fan letter. To observe our birthday each year, we get out the archives and reflect on where we have been, and dream of where we hope to go.
Last Fall our dear friend Laura Lynch left the band to pursue other life adventures. And so one chapter ends...
"Seven years. We had some wonderful times. You gave up your Friday and Saturday nigths just to come hear our band. I was always so flattered. Touched. I will miss those times. I will miss you"
and another chapter begins...
Natalie Maines, Lubbock native and daughter of world famous producer and steel guitar player Lloyd Maines, has added her exciting new voice to the Dixie Chicks. We are truly honored to have her as a part of the dream!
"Howdy Y'all. I just wanted to say thank you to all the fans who have so graciously welcomed me as the new 'Chick' in the coop. Since last Fall I have been having a great time. Everything is so new and exciting, and I hope to meet all of you down the road. Until then."
-Natalie- [typed, not signed]
Well, it's back to the glamorous life of State Fair cornydogs, truck stops, and Summertime sweat fests. And when it's all over, there's nothing like coming home just to discover there's been a block of Monterrey Jack in the crack of the R.V. couch!
[signed, Martie, Emily & Natalie]
Now appearing[The usual concert listing. Will transcribe in the future.]
Schedule HotlineFor Calendar Updates:
[Now 972-233-9124, but it's never updated anymore...]
New! Email address:
[No longer in service]
New! Web page:
[Also no longer in service: see the Site History page for more details.]
Be sure to call the hotline for calendar additions.
9021 OkinawaJust for the halibut we took some Marines up on their offer to go snorkeling in the East China Sea. Martie got pulled in by the undertow, and for the moment we thought we had lobster, but then we flounder.
While wrestling an octopus, Emily scraped her eel on some coral. When Nature Natalie chastised her for stepping on the reef, Emily clammed she didn't do it on porpoise, "I wouldn't wish that on my worst anemone!"
By the end we were all starfish, so we decided we otter go eat.
[Pic: Dixie Chicks flanked by Okinawan Marines]
As is the case whenever a band changes its look, all was not sweetness and light. Helen Bryant, society columnist for The Dallas Morning News, wrote this note in the October 16, 1995 edition:
Here a chick...
This item could be a country song: Two Chicks Dumped Me For A Younger Woman.
Laura Lynch has been replaced as lead singer of the Dixie Chicks by Natalie Maines, the daughter of steel guitarist Lloyd Maines. Sisters Emily Erwin and Martie Seidel -- the other two Chicks -- hope Natalie's powerful voice will propel the trio to commercial success.
"We thought we needed to make a music decision now," says Martie, adding that Laura views the change as "the passing of the baton." But when I talked to Laura Wednesday night, she sounded awful fond of that ol' baton.
"It can't really be characterized as a resignation," Laura said. "There are three Dixie Chicks, and I'm only one." She said age was a factor in the baton-passing, and she understands.
"The group's called the Dixie Chicks," said Laura, who's 37. (Emily and Martie are 23 and 25, respectively). "When I was out there on the road having a bad day, it was awfully hard to be a Chick."
The upside for Laura: "I have a 14-year-old daughter, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with her."
But all's well that ends well... soon after leaving the Chicks, Laura married her high school sweetheart, rancher Mac Tull, and is now living the cowgirl life outside of Weatherford, Texas.
Chick Chat Navigation
- Previous transcribed Chick Chat: Fall 1995
- Next transcribed Chick Chat: A Postcard, Summer 1997
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Transcribed by Robert Brooks. Grammar and structure are from the original, but typos and misspellings are probably my own fault.
This issue of Chick Chat had no explicit copyright notice, but should be considered (c) 1996 Dixie Chicks
Last update: 10/11/1999