The Chicks mourn the loss of founding member Laura Lynch – The Washington Post

The Chicks said goodbye to one of their own this weekend.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Laura Lynch, a founding member of The Chicks,” wrote current band members Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer on Instagram and X on Saturday. “We hold a special place in our hearts for the time we spent playing music, laughing and traveling together. … Laura had a gift for design, a love of all things Texas and was instrumental in the early success of the band.”
Lynch — once the lead vocalist and upright bassist for a band that was previously known as the Dixie Chicks — was killed Friday in a head-on collision about seven miles west of Cornudas, Tex., near El Paso. Her eastbound Ford F-150 was struck by a westbound Dodge Ram, whose driver was attempting to pass a vehicle, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Lynch was 65. An investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Musician Sheryl Crow, who has collaborated with the Chicks, commented on their Instagram post: “Feeling your sadness.”
“Sad to hear of the passing of my dear friend Laura Lynch,” wrote Rep. Roger Williams (R-Tex.) on X. “Laura was a great American and an example of the American dream.”
Lynch, the only founding member of the Dixie Chicks who was actually from Texas, was raised on her grandfather’s ranch near the Mexico border and worked as a stockbroker before co-founding the band in 1989, according to the Washington Times. The Dixie Chicks first gigged on street corners in Dallas before moving on to “fried-egg jobs.”
“We would play these Sunday-morning gigs in these barbecue joints, and then they’d either pay us or feed us,” Lynch told the Times in 1991.
The band originally played bluegrass and “cowgirl music,” as they called it, with four-part harmony, striving to put a fresh spin on an old-time sound.
Lynch’s “beautiful soprano begs comparison to the singing of Dolly Parton and Alison Krauss,” wrote The Post’s Eric Brace in March 1992, after the Dixie Chicks performed at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va. Lynch’s smoky torch song “Pink Toenails” was a standout in a set that galloped through genres: Texas swing, bluegrass, country, Irish, doo-wop and modern folk.
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“Our brand of cowgirl music is a mixture of old-time country music, bluegrass music, acoustic,” Lynch told NPR in July 1992, adding: “What we’re doing is kind of carving our own notch in, I don’t know, what we hope is going make a little musical history.”
In 1995, Lynch, then 37, was replaced by Maines, then 21.
“We thought we needed to make a music decision now,” Maguire told the Dallas Morning News in November 1995, describing the change as “the passing of the baton.”
“It can’t really be characterized as a resignation,” Lynch said then, acknowledging that age was a factor. She quit music and focused on raising her daughter.
The band went on to mainstream stardom with 1998’s “Wide Open Spaces,” which won best country album at the Grammy Awards.
Lynch told the Associated Press in 2003 that she didn’t regret missing out on the fame and that she had fond memories of leading the band through its hectic, hardscrabble early days.
“It was worth it,” Lynch said then.
The Chicks dropped “Dixie” from their name in 2020 but, from its birth, the band was proudly Texan and unabashedly feminine. As one of the band’s T-shirts said in the early 1990s: “The rooster crows but the hen delivers.”