Natalie Maines – Mother

by Alan Rapp on May 25, 2013

in Music News & Reviews

Natalie Maines - MotherSeven years after the release of the Dixie Chicks 2006 album Taking the Long Way lead singer Natalie Maines returns with her first solo album. Mother, a collection of seven covers songs with three original songs from Maines and her collaborators Ben Harper, Jesse Ingalls, Jason Mozersky, and Gary Louris. Although the eighth song credits her former band mates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, the album is a complete departure from the Chicks mix of country, bluegrass, and pop that made them so successful over the years. Rather than a triumphant new beginning, Mother feels very much like Maines is still trying to find herself following her comments about George Bush and the backlash of the Chicks fanbase that led to the Dixie Chicks taking a prolonged hiatus.

The album is a mixed success that starts out strong with Maines’ renditions of Eddie Vedder‘s “Without You,” Patti Griffin‘s “Silver Bell,” and an completely unexpected version of Pink Floyd‘s “Mother.” The choice of music gets a little muddled in over the rest of the album particularly with the the hard rocking “Trained” which feels completely out of place among some mostly forgettable lighter numbers. Towards the end the album gets back on track with “Come Cryin’ To Me” (the song co-written with her Dixie Chicks band mates), and The Jayhawks‘ “I’d Run Away,” before ending her first solo album with the the melodic “Take It On Faith” (the best of the original songs included here).

Fans hoping for a little of the harmonic twang of the Dixie Chicks albums are likely to be disappointed here. Mother is Maines playing it save by sticking a single toe into the water to gauge the reaction to her continued move away from country music. Some of the choices here work, but almost as many do not. Fans of the Dixie Chicks should give it a listen but be prepared for something quite different from what we’ve heard from singer in the past.

[Columbia, CD $11.99 / Vinyl $28.98]

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

dixie chic June 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I can’t decide if I like this album or not.

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