It's no secret that the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith have a contentious history together, having traded some nasty personal jabs at each other's songwriting talents and political views back in 2003 (who could forget Natalie Maines' infamous FUTK t-shirt?).
The feud has never been formally ended, although the artists were supposed to appear together in a 2008 TV commercial about global warming (the spot was canceled due to scheduling conflicts). And, it seems, the Chicks still have a little bit of a bone to pick with Keith even to this day.
Chick Emily Robison, who hosted a webchat with sister Martie Maguire on Tuesday to promote their duo project Court Yard Hounds, brought up Keith at the end of their chat--to question his songwriting skills yet again.
"People constantly ask us about Toby Keith," she said. "I really don't keep tabs...but I'm going to send you all on a mission.
"Go listen to a song by Robert Earl Keen, 'The Road Goes On Forever.' And then listen to Toby Keith's newest single. ("Bullets In The Gun.")
"It's up to you to do the compare and contrast," she added.
Although Robison rather jokingly termed this notation a "rant" of hers, there are actual notable similarities between the songs. Both deal with remarkably identical subject matter--a small-town working-class girl done wrong, who goes rogue with a new lover and a gun. The two tunes also share a somewhat similar melodic feel.
Keen's song came out in 1989 and was covered by country supergroup the Highwaymen, who even named an album after it.
Have a listen to both songs here:
Thoughts? One fan did post to the Court Yard Hound's official site forum with her thoughts on the two songs, with the conclusion: "Too similar."
The fan had some pretty harsh words for Keith. "I think that he thought that if he changed a few things and added a bridge and chorus people would noticed...well it only took one person and yea...its gonna spread to others," she noted.
And if that weren't enough: "In my opinion Keen's version was way better! He had the smarts to use fiddle and banjo on his record."
It seems there are a lot of accusations of this sort going around these days--most recently, with the Bellamy Brothers accusing Britney Spears of lifting a little too much from their playbook. I'm not sure if this particular case is truthfully "rant"-worthy, to use Robison's own term. Bonnie & Clyde is a pretty classic theme at this point. But I'll leave it up to you guys, as usual. Be sure to let me know what you think.
As always, be sure to: