Natalie Maines Releases Solo Album, New Image

Natalie Maines has released her first solo album, Mother, after spending years as one-third of the Dixie Chicks. The album marks a turning point in Maines' career and features a new, harder sound that fans may not be familiar with.

"I knew I didn't want to make a country record, just because that's not really what I would have ever made as a solo artist. I loved Martie and Emily and what they did on their instruments, and I loved what we created and how we sounded together. But as an overall genre, country music was never where I would have guessed I would have been," Maines told NPR's Melissa Block.

Maines and the Dixie Chicks received quite the backlash when she said she and her bandmates were ashamed of then-President Bush. Fans across the nation protested their concerts and Maines even received hate mail for her work. However, after a little time away, Maines recorded Not Ready to Make Nice and cemented her comeback.

"I had preconceptions of what country music, or what country music fans, were like. Really, politicians never even became an issue until I made the comment– so it just really wasn't on my mind that I had to, you know, relate to everyone in my field on a political level. They explained that to me later, I guess. I didn't get that manual," Maines explained.

"Mother features collaborations with various artists, including Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam. It's all part of Maines' new, tougher image and sound that she hopes fans will enjoy.

"It's different," she said. "It definitely was scary in the beginning; I think I'm getting a little more used to it. On stage, it can feel a little naked to not have them on either side. It's definitely strange, after 15 or more years, to not have them on my right and left," Maines said of missing her bandmates.

Mother is out now.