Dixie Chicks fans had waited 14 years for a followup album from the superstar trio. What’s another… well, actually, it’s uncertain how much longer it’ll be, since the impending release of “Gaslighter” has been put off with no postponement date yet announced.
A statement from the group’s reps said that “their highly anticipated fifth studio album, ‘Gaslighter,’ originally scheduled to drop on May 1, 2020, via Columbia Records, has been postponed. Additional details are forthcoming. Fans should continue to check @DixieChicks social media for additional updates and announcements.”
As of this writing, no comments from the trio about the delay had appeared on their Twitter or Instagram accounts.
The cancellation of the album’s May release had been widely expected for weeks, as most A-list artists with albums set for April, May or June have ended up pushing them back by a few months, including Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and Luke Bryan, even as mid-level or independent acts have largely stuck with their release dates up to this point.
The always outspoken Natalie Maines has not tweeted for nearly a month. On March 23, she addressed — naturally — the president of the United States. “I am begging you @realDonaldTrump,” she wrote as the severity of the pandemic became even more evident. “Please use your podium to give factual information to Americans. If you lead successfully we will pat you on the back. You’re gonna pull a muscle constantly patting yourself on the back. #narcissist #gaslighter #denier #fingerpointer #backpatter”
Although some fans had expected the title track of the album — already released as a single — to be about Trump, it actually turned out to be a personal, not political, broadside, fronting a collection of songs that Maines has said were written in the wake of the fallout from the breakup of her marriage. The group performed “Gaslighter” on Ellen DeGeneres’ show March 16, in a pre-taped appearance (below).
A handful of journalists who were given sneak peeks of the album before it was put on ice have quietly given it praise for its musical quality (the set was produced by Jack Antonoff) and the personal candor of Maines’ lyrics.
One advantage the Chicks had in postponing their album is that they had not yet announced a tour schedule before the public lockdowns started occurring. Other top artists who had recently announced tour dates when the coronavirus crisis hit hard in March moved to delay those concerts by a few months — and pushed their album dates back to match — only to now face uncertainty about whether there’ll have to be second postponements on those as well.