The Dixie Chicks' Taking the Long Way was the trio's first studio album since the "shot heard 'round the world," when singer Natalie Maines told an English audience that she was, "ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." By this time, the trio was ostracized from country music, and deliberately turned their attention to a wider, pop-oriented audience. Produced by Rick Rubin, Taking the Long Way sees a softening of the trio's sound, both in instrumentation (more violins, less fiddles) and in Maines' thick Texas twang. In a post break-up interview with Rolling Stone, the singer confessed, "I can't listen to our second album," referring to the Chicks' 1999 breakthrough, Fly, "because I was really, like, embracing country and really waving that country flag. My accent is so out of control on that album." L.R.