By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
4. [A series of very clichéd "fame" questions were asked, the upshot of which was, tell us the bad, tell us the good. They can be characterized in the following way]: About fame, what bad, what good?
"I think we're getting more comfortable with it," she says. "But it is amazing what people feel they have the right to tell you to your face when you're famous. If Charlie and I are out together, and say he's a big alternative country or Texas music fan, and he'll say, 'Oh, Charlie, I love you, I love you, I love your music, blahblahblah,' and then they'll turn to me. And I'm like, You don't have to say anything, you don't have to acknowledge me, that's fine. But they'll turn to me and say, 'But I'm not really into your kind of music.' Or vice versa. 'Oh, Emily, I love the Dixie Chicks,' then to Charlie, 'I don't listen to your kind of music.' Our neighbors, when we're in the yard working or something, they'll come up and say the most bizarre things. It's like, You don't have to lie to my face, but you also don't have to be so blatantly rude. They tell you that they don't like what you're wearing. And it's like, you want to turn around and say, 'Yeah, and you should lose 50 pounds,' but I'm not going to say that to them...The other side of that is that you get more adulation than you can ever handle in your entire life, so it balances out." 5
She then thinks for a bit while she tries to come up with the one thing about fame that is actually better than she thought it would be at this point. "The free stuff," she finally says. "Yes, I can finally afford things, and people just want to give them to me. Free meals. And the cosmetics. Everyone sends them to us." She laughs. "I have more toiletries than I could ever absorb in my skin."
Soon after this comment, she says thanks and goodbye, because she has several other interviews to do before getting ready for her show in Oklahoma City, which will closely resemble the shows the Dixie Chicks will perform in Dallas this week. Emily is from Dallas. Did you know that? 6
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1 I am an unapologetic Dixie Chicks fan; I dug Wide Open Spaces and adored Fly. So I kind of chuckled along with Emily Robison in a sycophantic, you-go-girl fashion when she ripped this paper. But, in fairness, I must point out that the critic Emily named -- rhymes with Flobert Jablonsky -- named Fly one of the best albums of 1999. As well, music critic Michael Corcoran has fabulously praised both albums in the pages of the Observer, calling Wide Open Spaces the best album of 1998 and saying that Fly's last cut, "Let Him Fly," is "one of the most gorgeous and touching pieces of music you'll hear all year." I believe Emily really meant to direct her criticism toward music editor Zac "easy target" Crain, who recently called lead singer Maines "fat" and last year suggested that the Chicks "[g]o ahead and start working up a set for Branson, ladies. You're gonna need it." Just to set the record straight.
2 The Chicks certainly shouldn't have a persecution complex, because almost every pub in the country says their blend of country with the traditional bluegrass instruments (fiddle, dobro, banjo) is a fusion that Nashville needed. (Trust me, I've read about 75 Chick stories in the past week -- and I thought I kissed ass.) Among their fans, it has been oft noted, is Sheryl Crow, who has played with the Chicks and who called the Martie-n-Emily-penned "You Were Mine" one of the best songs she'd ever heard."I think our goal has always been to be credible within our peer group, as well as selling records," Emily says. "That to me, to all of us actually, is even more important than selling records. So when you have someone we love as much as Sheryl Crow or Stevie Nicks, people who are themselves icons in music, you know there's a little bit of a star factor, but that's just really cool that they respect us as musical peers...I think about that when I go to bed at night. It's what keeps you going."
3 Two things: One, the high-five thing was a bet, and although I'm ashamed, I was forgiven. (See above.) Two, I think her husband, Texas singer-songwriter Charlie Robison, was there, and I am so shocked he didn't just whup up on our posse. In case you don't know his work, buy it. You probably heard "Barlight" off Life of the Party on the radio, which is a cool drankin' song, but that's not all he does. Check out the haunting "Indianola" or Emily's favorite off that album, "My Hometown."FYI: The ballad "Cowboy Take Me Away," off Fly, was co-written by Martie with Emily and Charlie in mind.
"Yeah, sometimes I do still cry when we play it," Emily says. "He just came out on the road this week. It brought back a lot of memories of the wedding. It's kind of an anthem for all of us. With Martie and Natalie going through their divorces, me finding my perfect person, it's one of those songs that says, Don't sell yourself short when it comes to finding your soulmate. It's kind of a love anthem for ourselves, really."