Q Magazine

Laura Lynch, Founding Member of the Dixie Chicks, Dead at 65

The group, now called the Chicks, became international superstars several years after Lynch's departure.

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Source: MEGA

Laura Lynch, center, was a founding member of the Dixie Chicks in 1990.

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Laura Lynch, a founding member of the initial iteration of the Dixie Chicks (currently known as the Chicks) died on Dec. 23 in a car crash near El Paso, Texas. She was 65.

According to reports, Lynch was killed when she she suffered a head-on collision with a pick-up truck while driving on US 62. The other driver was also hospitalized.

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chicks
Source: MEGA

The Chicks, featuring Natalie Maines (center), would become one of the most popular country-crossover acts of the late-1990s and early-2000s.

Lynch was with the group from its founding in 1990 until 1995. During her tenure the Dixie Chicks were a more traditional country and bluegrass act, with limited mainstream exposure. Lynch was replaced in the group by Natalie Maines, who became the group’s de facto frontperson, and the Dixie Chicks’ subsequent shift to a more pop-oriented country sound starting in 1998 saw the group become international superstars, selling more than 30 million albums, with three No. 1s on the Billboard 200.

The Chicks posted a tribute to Lynch on Instagram on Dec. 23, saying: “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Laura Lynch, a founding member of the Chicks. We hold a special place in our hearts for the time we spent playing music, laughing and traveling together. Laura was a bright light…her infectious energy and humor gave a spark to the early days of our band. Laura had a gift for design, a love of all things Texas and was instrumental in the early success of the band. Her undeniable talents helped propel us beyond busking on street corners to stages all across Texas and the mid-West.

“Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones at this sad time.”

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Lynch co-founded the Dixie Chicks in 1990, playing upright bass. At the time, the lineup consisted of Lynch, guitarist Robin Lynn Macy, and sisters Martie Erwin and Emily Erwin. The foursome released debut Thank Heaven for Dale Evans in 1990, and follow-up Little Ol’ Cowgirl in 1992, after which Macy departed the group, and Lynch took on greater singing duties. The group’s first album as a trio, 1993’s Shouldn’t a Told You That, featured steel guitar contributions from Lloyd Maines, whose daughter Natalie would soon join the band. The album was Lynch’s last with the Dixie Chicks, however, though the exact circumstances of her departure were never entirely clear.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News in 1995, Lynch said of her departure: ”It can't really be characterized as a resignation. There are three Dixie Chicks, and I'm only one." She also hinted that age was a factor in her departure, as she was more than a decade older than the Erwin sisters. “The group's called the Dixie Chicks,” Clark said. "When I was out there on the road having a bad day, it was awfully hard to be a Chick.”

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Lynch would cease to be active in music after her departure from the group, marrying a man named Mac Tull, who subsequently won millions in the lottery in 1997, according to a 2003 interview with the El Paso Times. She claimed to have no regrets about missing her former group’s rise to stardom, saying: "It was worth it. I’d get anemic all over again to do it."

With Maines onboard, the trio would regroup over the next several years, eventually releasing the 13x platinum breakout album Wide Open Spaces in 1998. The 11x platinum Fly followed two years later, and the 6x platinum Home in 2002. The group’s country radio dominance hit a snag thanks to boycotts following Maines’ criticism of then-president George W. Bush, though a subsequent album dealing with the fallout, Taking the Long Way, saw the group win Grammys for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, ad Song of the Year in 2006.

The Chicks dropped the “Dixie” from their name in 2020, in response to the racial reckoning surrounding the killing of George Floyd.

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