April 18

Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldiers”: A Tale of a Soldier

A number 1 country hit for the Dixie Chicks, “Travelin’ Soldiers” is one the most controversial songs of the band not because of its message but because of a concert held in 2003.

In 1996, this song was originally written and recorded Austin-based country music singer-songwriter, Bruce Robison. It was then rewritten in 1999. The song was covered by some artists like Ty England, Dixie Chicks, Bruce Robison and his wife, Kelly Wills, and Aaron Lewis. However, it was the Dixie Chicks’ version that has drawn a huge success and was considered the best cover. “Travelin’ Soldiers” is mainly about a story of an American soldier during the Vietnam War.

Dixie Chicks' "Travelin' Soldiers": A Tale of a Soldier 1
A soldier during the Vietnam War, 1965. (Photo by rarehistoricalphotos.com)

A Tale of an American Soldier During the Vietnam War

What is so good about a song is its message behind. Moreover, the passion and love put into the creation of the song are felt as you listen to it. One good example is this song “Travelin’ Soldiers.”

The story of this song takes us back during the Vietnam War, which occurred from 1955 to 1975. It talks about a young American soldier who got an intimate relationship with a waitress just before he joins the army.

While in Vietnam, he writes her letters for he has no other else to write to. Despite the distance of being on the opposite sides of the world, the two still maintain their relationship. In his letters, the soldier tells his girl that when he dies, she’ll be the only one to know.

Robison, the songwriter, revealed the story in one of his interviews:

“I was working with in a kitchen in Austin was getting called up in the reserves for the first Iraq War. And generally that was the situation that started me thinking about that. I set the song in Vietnam, but those were the things that I was thinking about. If you’ll recall, it took a long time for us to send all the people over, and there was months of amassing our forces over in Kuwait in the first Gulf War. Those were the thoughts going through my head.”

With how great the story of the song is and how it inspires people undergoing the same situation, Bruce Robison is truly a great songwriter for creating such a masterpiece.

Dixie Chicks' "Travelin' Soldiers": A Tale of a Soldier 2
Dixie Chicks (Photo by @dixiechicks/twitter.com)

Dixie Chicks and the Controversy

Some songs are donned with controversies and it is quite a normal and common situation. Mostly, the songs’ message and/or lyrics make it controversial. However, in certain situations, it is the singer or the performer that makes the song controversial. This happened to the Dixie Chicks and this song way back in 2003.

While “Travelin’ Soldiers” was on its peak reigning at no. 1 in the country music chart, it dropped off and was pulled out in several radio stations. This happened after the Dixie Chicks had their concert in London on May 10, 2003. Natalie Maines, the vocalist of the band, introduced the song by saying,

“Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

This statement caused a massive protest among Bush supporters, many of whom were country music fans. In the same manner, many radio stations dropped the song from their playlists, and worse, banned the band completely.

The Dixie Chicks released a song in 2006 called “Not Ready To Make Nice.” It is believed that this talks about the incident that happened 3 years ago.

The Dixie Chicks perform their version of “Travelin’ Soldiers.”


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Dixie Chicks, Travelin' Soldiers

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