Emily Robison admits it was a little “bizarre” watching “Dixie Chicks Storytellers” half a decade after it first aired.
The show was taped in 2006 and The Dixie Chicks multi-instrumentalist says it feels like a lifetime ago. So many things have changed, including the nation’s political climate and the Chicks’ ongoing, indefinite recording hiatus. The “VH1 Storytellers” installment, out Tuesday for the first time on DVD, is the only material coming from The Dixie Chicks any time soon (the group did do a brief tour with the Eagles last year).
“It’s kind of a gift to our fans right now,” Robison said in a phone interview from Texas last week. “Because I know they’ve been so patient and they’re a bit frustrated with our lack of being out there right now. So it’s just something we feel like we can put out there and give to them, I guess.”
“Storytellers” was taped after the release of Taking the Long Way, the album that went on to win five Grammys, including album of the year, and now marks the end of the Chicks’ discography for the time being.
The group was still recovering from the controversy over singer Natalie Maines’ 2003 comments against President George W. Bush and the looming war in Iraq. The Dixie Chicks lost about half their audience in the ensuing furor, but fought back in a powerful way, drawing support from many quarters.
The DVD documents a raw time for the band, and the emotion shared on songs like “Not Ready to Make Nice” and “Easy Silence” is palpable. Robison said she felt something of a dislocation as she watched a copy of the DVD a few months ago. Many of those emotional wounds have scarred over in the years since.
“I have mixed feelings about it,” Robison said. “I definitely feel like things happen for a reason and I don’t really regret what happened. What happened TO us was different. But as far as how we handled it and our stance on things, I would probably do the same thing today. I can’t say I have any regrets that way.”
The band, which also includes Robison’s sister Martie Maguire, isn’t the only thing that’s changed in that time. The political climate is quite different, too. Eight years later, Robison said, many of the same people who shouted down the Chicks are now vocal critics of President Barack Obama.
“It was about the war then, but I think people on the other side are now realizing they want a voice with maybe the administration that they don’t like now,” Robison said. “And for them to feel like they wouldn’t be able to say what they want to say, it’s all relative, because what if people were boycotting them because they said something about Obama? It’s just ridiculous. People should be able to say what they want to say.”