Had the rest of you gotten to where you felt like the band worked well without her?
Oh yeah. We didn’t really miss a beat. When she left, we took a little bit of time off and then went in the studio to make an album back in 2003. And we’ve done a number of successful tours, businesswise and I’d say artistically, as a four-piece. The only difference, really, is that, you know, Stevie’s sort of at one end of the spectrum, she’s representing one pole, I’m representing the other end of that, and Christine is somewhere in the middle. So I think that the body of work speaks more eloquently. I think that it’s a point at which you can take stock of that body of work and appreciate it at this point in time. With her inclusion in it and her songs in there, suddenly you’ve got a more complete landscape. And I think her songs help inform my songs and Stevie’s.
And that’s just on a musical level. Then you’ve got to talk about just the fact that I think on some level, Stevie missed having her gal pal, if you will. And that’s been great. It kind of lightens things up again, because if there’s a polarity musically between Stevie and me, there’s also a bit of a polarity politically or socially, given our history. So it fills in that as well. So yeah, we did great as a four-piece, but I think it’s a more complete picture when Christine is there.
The one cover version in recent years that had a big run on the charts was the Dixie Chicks’ country-pop crossover hit with “Landslide.” Were you surprised at all that it had such appeal to country audiences?
Not really. It’s a wonderful song, it’s a very accessible song. And Stevie’s whole thing — or some of it, because she can get into something else slightly more modal, and then you put my sensibilities over that as a producer and it moves farther and farther away — but at her center, a lot of what she does is not too far away from country. And “Landslide” is a pretty good example of that. Just as a song, that song certainly lends itself to something like that. So no, it didn’t surprise me at all.