Shut Up and Sing (2006)

The title of this fascinating documentary refers to what that portion of the music industry associated with Nashville told the Dixie Chicks when they dared to speak out against President Bush. The film shows the controversial moment when Natalie Maine, apparently wanting to show the largely anti-Iraq War London audience that she was them, made her statement expressing her shame that Pres. Bush was from Texas. The British audience loved it, but the fans back home soon vented their wrath at what they regarded was an unpatriotic act. Urged on by hundreds of djs, in the south and other parts of the country, angry fans turned out to burn or smash Dixie Chick’s albums. To their credit fellow singers Emily Robison, and Marie McGuire stand by Natalie.

Virtually all stations in the south refused to play their music. In a montage of shots showing former fans expressing their anger against the group, one woman called them “ignorant,” totally out of their element in venturing into a foreign policy issue. The rest of the film gives us an up close portrait of the three singers and how they handled their three years of being either shunned or damned, including their recent album with “Not Ready to Make Nice.” The film, excitingly agor and filled with music, is a good profile in courage of a talented group whose belief that they were called to do more than make money cost them dearly. It is so heartening to see that today a majority of those in the music industry have recognized both their talent and their courage by awarding them five Grammys—and what a tribute to have Joan Baez at the Awards refer to them as “three brave women.”