One of the most successful country music acts of the 21st century, Dixie Chicks first came together in Dallas, Texas, when multi-instrumentalist sisters Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison came together with Laura Lynch on vocals and upright bass and Robin Lynn Macy on guitar. The group released two independent albums focusing on a traditional bluegrass style, but by the second record's release, Macy felt their sound was becoming too modern and left. Indeed, Maguire and Robison were both interested in pursuing a more modern sound, and to that end, they replaced Lynch with singer Natalie Maines. The new threesome signed to Sony and released their major label debut, <i>Wide Open Spaces</i>, in 1998. The record was hugely successful, as was their follow up <i>Fly</i> the following year. After releasing the more pensive <i>Home</i> in 2002, the group ran into some controversy when, while performing in Europe during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Maines said to the audience, "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." The group drew sharp criticisms from conservative media outlets, but they also won acclaim from more progressive sources, including support from Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and country music legend Merle Haggard, who spoke out in encouragement of Maines' statement, saying, "I don't even know the Dixie Chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching." The group eventually recovered from their losses by marketing themselves more to rock audiences, recording 2007's <i>Taking the Long Way</i> with producer Rick Rubin. The group would take a break from heavy touring and recording for the next few years in order to focus on their families, but they embarked on a major tour of Europe and the United States in 2015.