When the Dixie Chicks joined the Axis of Evil it killed their country music station playability but the anti-Bush backlash helped them to Grammy success.
Now the frontwoman has shed her chicks, abandoned the gingham, fiddles and embroidered boots and hitched her wagon to a team of rock thoroughbreds led by the masterful Ben Harper.
And heck it's a stunning departure.
Maines' voice slips effortlessly into the rock repertoire absolutely killing an ambitious range of tracks which include Pink Floyd's Mother, Eddie Vedder's Without You, the Jayhawk's I'd Run Away and the sublime Jeff Buckley rollercoaster Lover, You Should've Come Over (which ought to be uncoverable, but which becomes a towering centrepiece).
With Harper's slide or blues stomp guitar commanding the background, Maines' slightly country-lilting delivery brings power to the ballads but disappears for the blasts of the more grungy Trained.
Mother is the moment when Maines blew old Dixie down.
- © Fairfax NZ News