"I wanted this music to be very different from the Dixie Chicks," she says. "Lots of albums by lead singers might just as well have been made by the band, but I think this is very different from anything the Chicks could make. That separation and distinction was important."
One of the initial songs they tackled was the soaring, tortured ballad from Pink Floyd's The Wall that ultimately gave this album its title. The result is a cover, which NPR's Ann Powers has described as "a tender acknowledgment of how fear can entrap all of us, even when we want to do nothing but love."
“Free Life” was written by Dixie Chicks collaborator and Grammy-Award winner, Dan Wilson. As different as this new music is from her Dixie Chicks roots, the songwriting credits on "Come Cryin' to Me" reveal that even her fellow Dixie Chicks Martie Maguire and Emily Robison still kept a hand in the new project. "That was a song we decided was too rock for Taking the Long Way," Maines explains, "but it really felt right to have a piece of them on here."
All of the album’s 10 songs were selected because of personal connections to Natalie. Jeff Buckley's "Lover You Should Have Come Over" was a reminder for Maines of the early days in relationship with her husband, actor Adrian Pasdar. She discovered "Without You" on her friend Eddie Vedder's ukulele album, and heard a groove that she thought might fit.
What started out as a fun session with friend Ben Harper, quickly developed into the solo debut from one of our generations most coveted voices.