Picks and Pans Review: Home

updated 09/02/2002 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/02/2002 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Dixie Chicks (Open Wide/Columbia)

Few artists were as prepared to jump on the bluegrass bandwagon as the Dixie Chicks, what with Martie Maguire's fiddle, her sister Emily Robison's banjo and their down-home harmonies with lead singer Natalie Maines. On this, the Chicks' follow-up to 1999's 10-million-seller Fly, their traditional picking and singing add a rootsy authenticity to numbers such as "Truth No. 2," a Patty Griffin song that boasts a twangy vocal by Maines and nimble banjo playing from Robison. The composing credits also include such bluegrass stalwarts as Marty Stuart, Radney Foster and Natalie's father, Lloyd Maines, who also coproduced the CD.

Not that this is a clich├ęd bluegrass project. In fact, the disc is noteworthy for its variety. One of the highlights is the Chicks' introspective version of the 1975 Fleetwood Mac tune "Landslide," complete with Maines's Nicksian vibrato. Another striking track is the eloquent, touching "Travelin' Soldier," a Vietnam-theme song cowritten by splendid singer-composer Bruce Robison, Emily's brother-in-law. And "More Love," a straightforward '60s-style plea for affection, helps enhance the album's warm, personal vibe, making it feel just like Home.

Bottom Line: Chicks still rule the roost

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