“Not Ready to Make Nice” belongs to a few different lineages. It does not follow the lineage typical of country music, which is songs that are conservative in politics. It is the first of the Dixie Chicks songs taking a political stance, because of Maines’ statement against President Bush, which continues this lineage of unapologetic political protest-esque music for the group. The most important lineage that I believe “Not Ready to Make Nice” belongs to is not simply their own lineage of protest music, but the rare category of anti-conservative country music.

Two important Dixie Chicks songs that also fall under the anti-conservative country music are “Goodbye Earl” and “Sin Wagon”. Both of these songs were released in 1999 on the album titled Fly. The Dixie Chicks audience appreciated their bold views and willingness to share that with the world. This differed from the response they  recieved following Maines speaking out against the president, and the release of “Not Ready to Make Nice” backing their views up. While “Goodbye Earl” and “Sin Wagon” were praised, “Not Ready to Make Nice” resulted in having Dixie chicks music pulled from airing on most radio stations.

“Goodbye Earl” tells the story of a woman who is abused by her husband. The character plots against her husband with her lifelong friend, and the two kill him. The lyrics read:

Right away Mary Anne flew in from Atlanta

On a red eye midnight flight

She held Wanda’s hand as they worked out a plan

And it didn’t take ’em long to decide

That Earl had to die, goodbye Earl

Those black-eyed peas, they tasted alright to me, Earl

You’re feelin’ weak? Why don’t you lay down and sleep, Earl

Ain’t it dark wrapped up in that tarp, Earl

The audience received this message as more of a metaphor and a tongue-in-cheek way to stand up for women who are victims to domestic violence.

“Sin Wagon” had a similar message of empowerment for women, describing a scenerio where a woman gets revenge on her man by exploring her sexuality. The song is aggressive in a witty way, and the audience received this song similarly to “Goodbye Earl”. Below are two sections of the lyrics:


On a mission to make something happen

Feel like Delilah lookin’ for Samson

Do a little mattress dancin’

That’s right I said mattress dancin’

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition

Need a little bit more

Of what I’ve been missin’

I don’t know where I’ll be crashin’

But I’m arrivin’ on a sin wagon


These two songs contributed greatly to the album Fly winning a grammy. They began the protest type of music that the Dixie Chicks were building which ultimately led to “Not Ready to Make NIce”, the focal point of my research.

I think that The Dixie Chicks were ahead of their time, paving the way for contemporary country music. Now, there are many other popular songs that are a part of a much less conservative country music lineage. Kacey Musgraves recently won the Album of the Year grammy for Golden Hour, which features bold and songs like “Follow Your Arrow” that stray far from country’s conservative roots. The lyrics of “Follow Your Arrow” are candid and genuine, which contributed to the album’s popularity:

Make lots of noise

Kiss lots of boys

Or kiss lots of girls

If that’s something you’re into

When the straight and narrow

Gets a little too straight

Roll up the joint, or don’t

Just follow your arrow

Wherever it points, yeah

Follow your arrow

Wherever it points


Little Big Town also hinted at the topic of homosexuality that is mentioned prior by Kacey Musgraves in “Find Your Arrow”. The song “Girl Crush” was initially rejected by many listeners simply for the title, but it came to top charts and win Best Country Song in 2016. The song’s lyrics have a deeper meaning that explains the concept of jealousy and envy from one woman to the next:

I want to taste her lips

Yeah, ’cause they taste like you

I want to drown myself

In a bottle of her perfume

I want her long blonde hair

I want her magic touch

Yeah, ’cause maybe then

You’d want me just as much

I got a girl crush


Sugarland’s lead singer, Jennifer Nettles, also belongs to this musical lineage with her song “Bigger” and the politics behind it. The song outlines her beliefs that we are made for better, and interviews explain that she is speaking specifically about the current political climate. Released in 2018, the album is charged by emotion and activism. This song’s lyrics are much broader but relate to Nettles’ personal politics and ideas for the world.

‘Cause we were born for better days

We’ll find a way, yeah

We’re gonna be bigger

Don’t give up you’re more than enough

Believe me, love, yeah, you’re gonna be bigger