Good news for fans of uppity women everywhere! Lubbock natives Jo Harvey Allen and the Natalie Maines will be inducted into the prestigious West Texas Walk of Fame in September. Maines is best known as the lead singer of the once-and-perhaps-future Dixie Chicks (that’s them, above, at a rare Austin performance from 2013). And also for, oh yeah, stirring up a shitstorm of Biblical proportions with her offhand comment about George W. Bush’s Texas bonafides. Natalie’s relationship with her home town has sometimes been, ah, prickly (see “Lubbock Or Leave It” off the Chicks’ Taking the Long Way album), but there’s no disputing her musical impact.
Actress, playwright and author Jo Harvey Allen has made a lifetime out of creating indelible characters onstage and onscreen (that’s her in the John Grisham flick The Client, as well as in Fried Green Tomatoes, Tommy Lee Jones’ latest, The Homesman and, memorably, the “Lying Woman” in David Byrnes’ movie, True Stories. On her own and long with her husband, artist/songwriter Terry Allen, she’s collaborated on more plays, radio shows, art installations and miscellaneous pieces of wonderful random creativity than you can shake a stick at.
It wasn’t always a day at the beach, growing up as a creative spirit in Lubbock. As Jo Harvey recounted to my fellow blogsmith Chris Oglesby, “Terry actually ran away from Lubbock with a vengeance. But I didn’t. I went with him; But I wasn’t running away. I was very happy in Lubbock, and I wasn’t running away from anything. But it’s funny; the more exposed I was to other things, open to other things, then the more threatening I became to my family. They’ve certainly never understood.”
But she persevered, as did Natalie, and now their names are going down alongside Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Bob Wills and other West Texas immortals. And good for them. Both Natalie and Jo Harvey are emblematic of what makes West Texas women a unique breed.