Dixie Chicks

Chicks fans had to wait a long while—in country music fan time—for this follow-up to 2000’s Fly. Lead singer Natalie Maines was off having her baby (yes, there’s a lullaby on the CD) and appearing on TLC’s Trading Spaces, and co-Chicks Martie Maguire and Emily Robison were off focusing on the relationship thing as well.

Enter Home, a release that offers up something old, something new, something borrowed, and well, you know country music has to be blue. The borrowed is Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide,” which takes on a familiar-yet-fresh feel when Emily gets her dobro into it (speaking of, don’t miss her dobro work on “More Love"—it almost rivals Natalie’s singing). The title track, “Long Time Gone,” in the classic Chicks style—upbeat with a twist of fiddle and banjo—has been on the radio for weeks now, and is, predictably, a winner.

There are a couple of experiments here, too—particularly the instrumental “Lil’ Jack Slade” and several self-penned offerings. “Tortured, Tangled Hearts” is in the spirit of Fly's controversial "Goodbye, Earl," but instead of a watery grave, this song’s antagonist meets the fate of having a tattoo carved out of his chest. Other standouts include the pretty "Travelin’ Soldier" and "White Trash Wedding," which has a nice bluegrass feel, though the lyrics may hit a bit too close to home for some of us: "You can’t afford no ring/ I shouldn’t be wearing white and you can’t afford no ring … Say I do an kiss me quick/ ‘Cause baby’s on the way."