Review – Beyoncé & The Dixie Chicks’ “Daddy Lessons”

daddy-lessons

Did you know there’s been a controversy surrounding Beyoncé, the Dixie Chicks and the CMA? It’s such an under-the-radar story and almost nobody is talking about it. I for one am shocked. All sarcasm aside, this story has been raging for days in the country music and parts of the rest of the music community. I hear bullshit from both sides and it’s so stupid. All I’ll have to say on this “controversy” is this: If you didn’t have a problem with Justin Timberlake performing at last year’s CMA Awards, but you do have a problem with Beyoncé performing at this year’s CMA Awards, then you’re a hypocrite. And you wonder why the country music community is unfairly stereotyped as racist and sexist. I digress because like always I would rather focus on the music. That music today is Beyoncé’s new, country take on her popular song “Daddy Lessons” off of her excellent album Lemonade that features the iconic Dixie Chicks that was performed at the CMA Awards and has since had a studio recording of it released.

I’ve said before in various places that the original version of “Daddy Lessons” was not country and I would classify it more as southern flavored R&B. Nevertheless it was nice to see Beyoncé embrace her southern roots on a song and it’s understandable why many in the country community would gravitate towards this song. That’s because the song itself has always been country. What’s more country than a song about a father passing on life lessons to her daughter? This sense of family and tradition is a vital part of country music and it’s appeal and kudos to Beyoncé for incorporating this into her music so flawlessly. In this new version of the song the instrumentation is definitely country, as the song opens with some excellent harmonica play and noticeably more subdued horns (which I remind you again is a part of country music going back to Western Swing).

The harmonica play shows up frequently throughout the song and essentially replaces the booming horn section in the original version. There’s also some noticeable fiddle and banjo play throughout to give it a decidedly rustic feel. Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks sound great together and fit like a glove, especially when harmonizing. The icing on top of the cake for this song is when the quartet break into the Dixie Chicks’ 2002 hit “Long Time Gone,” written by the excellent Darrell Scott. They sing the main lines, which still ring true: “Now they sound tired, but they don’t sound Haggard/They got money but they don’t have Cash/They got Junior but they don’t have Hank/I think I think I think…” Yet people are complaining about the return of one of the most traditional country trios in the history of the genre meanwhile Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini performed on the same show and none of them have ever come close to sounding as traditional as the Dixie Chicks.

I thoroughly enjoyed the original version of “Daddy Lessons” and I think I enjoy this version even more, as a top pop artist and one of country music’s all-time best trios come together to create something great. I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to these four recording more music together in the future, maybe even a full country album to really get heads spinning. At the end of the day I don’t care about all of the outside stuff because it’s impossible for me to not recognize and appreciate when great music is delivered.

Grade: 9/10

 

Recommend? – Yes!

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Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Wynter Gordon, Kevin Cossom & Alex Delicata

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14 thoughts on “Review – Beyoncé & The Dixie Chicks’ “Daddy Lessons”

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more on every count. Having her there kept things interesting — after all, do we forget how much gospel, soul, hip hop and rock music have fed country for decades? And how great to see the Dixie Chicks as part of the scene again!

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  2. Although I am not a huge Beyoncé fan, I think this is great. 🙂 I couldn’t be more excited about this because I have been a huge fan of the Dixie Chicks since I was a little bitty girl. I am so glad that they are back!! 🙂

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  3. Unpopular for sure: Dixie Chicks performance on a COUNTRY Music Award Show? Yes. Beyonce? God no!
    Are country artists invited to a Black Music Award Show? Well…
    The song is good. The performance is good. But there is no reason (ok…political correctness) to push & promote more not-so-country artists. Beyonce or Justin Timberlake. Male or female. Black or white.

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    • It’s ratings, not political correctness. Both Timberlake and Beyoncé and even Taylor Swift. This gets people who wouldn’t normally tune into the show to watch because these artists have huge fan bases who normally don’t watch the CMA Awards. That’s it. The age old money reason. They especially needed it when they were going head to head with the World Series. Us diehard country fans are guaranteed to tune in, but casuals need a hook and Beyoncé was this year’s big guest.

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  4. Thank you for promoting the point that if you liked Timberlake, but hated Beyonce, you are a hypocrite. That’s exactly what I thought when I heard all the covert racism in the negative comments. Country music constantly gets a bad rap for white pride. It shouldn’t. The women of country, like Faith Hill, enjoyed the performance. Beyonce, in one stroke, brought back the greatest band country has seen since Alabama. And OlaR maybe the BET awards should invite some country stars to sing. Lord knows Thomas Rhett would love to sing like a black artist. What’s most important is that the performance was excellent. I thought Timberlake was trying to grab some of Chris Stapleton’s spotlight- he is far more authentic than Timberlake. But Beyonce- who wrote a song in a country manner- only came to reintroduce the Dixie Chicks. That is a plus for country fans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Dixie Chicks is the “greatest band country has seen since Alabama”. We don’t listen to the same country music.
      Pretty sure Black Music Awards will not invite Thomas Rhett or a much more talented country artist. Colin Kaepernick on the other side…

      The CMA award show really needs Beyonce for better ratings? Garth Brooks & Carrie Underwood are not enough? Why can’t the Dixie Chicks play/sing with Barbara Mandrell or one of the best known names on the planet (Dolly Parton)? A real country song.
      But Beyonce was not enough to push the ratings. Excuse? The world series! Maybe people didn’t like the idea of Beyonce & the Chicks playing one of the biggest country music events of the year?
      The whole thing backfired. The performance was unnecessary. Who is talking about the award-winning artists? Country music needs more female artists. Female COUNTRY artists & Beyonce is NOT country.

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      • If you think Carrie and Garth are the ratings boost equivalent of Beyoncé you’re badly mistaken. Maybe Garth in his heyday in the 90s could have been, but today he’s yesterday’s news. Nobody is moving heaven and earth to watch him on TV (maybe a concert in person if you’re a super fan of Garth). Also casually dismissing the World Series as an excuse shows you don’t have any grasp on ratings either. The World Series has killed everyone in the ratings, including American football which has been the ratings king in the US for years. There’s nothing the CMA could have done to get great ratings that night. Beyonce or no Beyonce, the CMAs would have gotten crushed.

        I wouldn’t say it backfired because we’re still talking about it. Also in regards to your “Black Music Awards” comment, of course they wouldn’t invite a country artist because unlike country music they aren’t desperate for mainstream popularity. Or for that matter others genres don’t hold a thousand award shows a year like country music does. Country music spends more time patting itself on the back than anybody else. I talk to fans from other genres and it baffles them how much time country spends on awards. Furthermore Hip Hop and R&B are more popular and well regarded by the mainstream and general population in the US so of course they don’t invite guests from other genres. Hip Hop doesn’t appropriate and outright steal from other genres like Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and others have done in recent years. So it’s pointless to sit here and crow about how they would never invite a country artist because other genres aren’t desperate like the people who run country music, who desperately crave the crossover attention they got with bro country’s popularity. Maybe if country music actually created another crossover star like Taylor Swift, but wouldn’t jump to pop and stay country, they wouldn’t need Beyonce and Timberlake. They could have it with Stapleton, but some people in the industry don’t want this (country radio) so we’re left with zero mega-stars in country music, only sad facsimiles like Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.

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  5. Thank you, well said! I don’t listen to Beyoncé and probably never will.
    But this debate has gone off the rails and has adopted ridiculous proportions. So for me your article really feels like a voice of reason…And you are right about. The Dixie Chicks they are among the best groups that Country Music has today.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. To be fair, Timberlake was and is planning a country album, justifying his appearance at least a little bit.

    I’ve grown to accept pop artists at the CMAs, and I didn’t mind Beyonce and the Chicks’ performance. But I’m sick of all this controversy surrounding it.

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    • I’m sick too.
      Sick of pushing an over-hyped singer like Beyonce. Sick of pop-rock-dance artists on country music shows & country radio. Sick of all the watered down “country music” & Luke Bryan shaking his ass.
      Sick of CMA, ACM, CBS & ABC booking Ariana Grande or Nick Jonas & not Cody Jinks or country-legends & CMA award winning artists like Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea or Janie Fricke. Even Olivia Newton-John or Marie Osmond are much more country (& country music award winner). Beyonce? Nope.

      You want more diversity? Western Swing! Ronnie Milsap with his R’n’B influenced country sound or Bluegrass. Alison Krauss (& Union Station) are CMA award winning artists too.

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      • I’m inclined to agree, but I do think there will always be some pressure by the TV folks to include some non-country people in these prime-time network deals. My own preference would be more like your own, but that outside pressure is always going to be there. Sometimes, it works better than others. Last year, the pop star elevated the interest in a rising country star. This year ? The Dixie Chicks didn’t even have any new country music to promote, so there was zero impact on the new Billboard charts. It was a good moment for the die-hard Beyonce/Dixie Chicks fans, but for country music as a whole, it didn’t seem to move the needle. I’m not particularly a music purist, but this year’s show was advertised especially as a showcase of legends for the 50th. It’s not unreasonable of fans and especially older fans to be pissed off when those legends of the last half century were displaced from the primary spotlight by some failed attempt at a ratings grab.

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  7. And what if I didn’t like either Timberlake or Beyonce being at a country music awards show and would have preferred the slot be given to a country artist who has worked and sweated in the trenches, dedicated to country music from the get-go, rather than to a millionaire pop artist? What kind of “___ist” does that make me?

    Because, goodness knows, there’s no possible way I could have a music preference that isn’t rooted in some sort of hate!

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    • Well that would make you consistent and not a hypocrite. However a hardworking, country artist who has worked in the trenches from the get go did share the spot with Timberlake last year and helped launch him to stardom if you don’t remember. He’s now one of the most popular artists in country music today, thanks in part to his pop artist friend performing with him. Again this is why I don’t have a problem with talented pop artists on the show.

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