The Long Way Around
Label: Open Wide/Columbia
Taking the Long Way finds the Dixie Chicks turning their backs on country and walking toward a sophisticated pop sound. The astonishing album seems tailored for those folks who took the Chicks' side when Natalie Maines spoke out against George W. Bush in 2003. On the opening title track she sings, "I opened my mouth and I heard myself/ It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself/ Guess I could have made it easier on myself/ But I could never follow." The rest of the album gushes and flows with graceful beauty, lovelorn longing and plenty more of that rebel spirit.