My journey with Rick began when my bandmates and I found ourselves facing a musical crossroads after surviving an emotional storm. (We said some things about the President. Perhaps you heard about it?) We were ready to make music again and were looking for a producer who could guide us without trying to reinvent us. Someone who didn't have a preconceived notion of what to do with us but who knew exactly what to do with us. After making a list of our favorite records, we discovered that a guy named Rick Rubin produced most of themeveryone from the Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Tom Petty and Johnny Cash. Who was he, we wondered, and would he be interested in working with three hicks, I mean chicks, from Texas?
I didn't know what to expect at our first meeting. When I asked other people what he was like, the word guru consistently came up. I had horrifying visions of banjo meditation and a Dixie Chicks album inspired by a sense of inner peace. I wasn't up for either of these things. To my relief, neither was he.
Rick, 44, is a man of few words who exudes confidence without arrogance. He has a natural intuition when it comes to music. What would seem like an opinion coming from someone else is simply fact when Rick says it. Rick doesn't tell you how you should play it; he tells you when you have nailed it. When people know they can try things, they begin to relax and really listen to a song. They stop focusing on what's written on the page and start listening to the music and where they fit into it. It may take longer, but I think it's the key to why Rick's albums all sound so individual and honest. He has the ability and the patience to let music be discovered, not manufactured. Come to think of it, maybe he is a guru.
Maines is the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, whose most recent album, Taking the Long Way, won five Grammys
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