The Dixie Chicks are an acclaimed American alternative country band with a wide crossover appeal into other genres. The band is currently composed of founding members (and sisters) Martie Erwin Maguire, Emily Erwin Robison and, lead singer Natalie Maines. The band formed in 1989 in Dallas, Texas and was originally composed of four women performing bluegrass and country music, busking and touring the bluegrass festival circuits and small venues for six years, without attracting a major label. After the departure of one bandmate, the replacement of their lead singer, and a slight change in their repertoire, the Dixie Chicks achieved massive country music and pop success, beginning in 1998 with hit songs like "Wide Open Spaces", "Cowboy Take Me Away", and "Long Time Gone". The women also became well-known for their independent spirit and controversial comments on subjects such as war and politics.
During a London concert ten days before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, lead vocalist Maines said, "we don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas" (the Dixie Chicks' home state). The statement offended some people, who thought it rude and unpatriotic, and the ensuing controversy cost the band half of their concert audience attendance in the United States and led to accusations of the three women being "un-American", as well as hate mail, a death threat, and the public destruction of their albums in protest.
As of 2009, they have won 13 Grammy Awards, with 5 of them earned in 2007 including the coveted Grammy Award for Album of the Year for Taking The Long Way. As of July 2010, with 30.5 million certified albums, and sales of 26,733,000 albums in the U.S., they have become the top selling all-female band in the U.S. during the Nielsen SoundScan era.