Natalie Maines makes waves, music 

click to enlarge Natalie Maines
  • Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS
  • After taking a break from music, Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines – appearing at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this weekend – has come out with a new solo album.
It’s taken a few years for misunderstood Dixie Chicks firebrand Natalie Maines to be vindicated. In 2003, on the eve of the Iraq invasion, the native of Lubbock, Texas, stated from a London stage, “We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.” The fallout — which included a country radio boycott and even death threats — was documented in the 2006 film “Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing,” which led to 2007’s quintuple-Grammy-winning album “Taking the Long Way” and its hit single “Not Ready to Make Nice.” And Maines wasn’t ready. She disappeared into Los Angeles with her actor husband, Adrian Pasdar, and their two sons, and this year she tentatively resurfaced with a covers-centered solo album “Mother,” named for the classic Pink Floyd ballad that anchors it.

California always loved you. How much do you love California? I enjoy it here. I don’t live in the heart of things, and I pretty much live the mom-family life. But we love to go to Dodgers games and L.A. Lakers games, and I feel like a California girl just ’cause I’m outdoors every day, enjoying our beautiful nature and landscape. And I love driving up the coast to San Francisco — it’s the best drive.

You got into another West Coast type of thing — therapy, right? I went for over three years because I needed to get in touch with my feelings and emotions and be able to verbalize and acknowledge those. And yes, it is all very granola and touchy-feely. But it worked, and it did me a lot of good. And I still go and check in occasionally, if I need a little tuneup.

What did you learn? I learned to be OK with me and what I’m doing, OK with my decisions and my needs. And not to feel so much guilt about that. I’m getting better at expressing myself, since I’m not necessarily the most sentimental, emotional person. But when I go into something, I delve in 100 percent. So I basically became a psychology-psychiatry student.

“Mother” happened in a cool California way, too, with you just casually recording with your neighbor Ben Harper. Yeah. We had known each other a bit, and he got a studio here on the west side of L.A., where I live. So it just made it convenient to try some new music. And I was comfortable with him, and his band is from Texas, so I got along with them right away. So we just took it in baby steps. We were experimenting, and we kept liking it. So we just kept going. It was a fun process.


Natalie Maines

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Where: Star Stage, Lindley Meadow, Golden Gate Park, S.F.

When: 5:45 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: Free


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Tom Lanham

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