Travelin' Soldier

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"Travelin' Soldier"
Single by Dixie Chicks
from the album Home
ReleasedDecember 20, 2002
GenreCountry, acoustic
Length5:43
LabelColumbia Nashville
Writer(s)Bruce Robison
Producer(s)Dixie Chicks and Lloyd Maines
Dixie Chicks singles chronology
"Landslide"
(2002)
"Travelin' Soldier"
(2002)
"Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)"
(2003)
 
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"Travelin' Soldier"
Single by Dixie Chicks
from the album Home
ReleasedDecember 20, 2002
GenreCountry, acoustic
Length5:43
LabelColumbia Nashville
Writer(s)Bruce Robison
Producer(s)Dixie Chicks and Lloyd Maines
Dixie Chicks singles chronology
"Landslide"
(2002)
"Travelin' Soldier"
(2002)
"Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)"
(2003)

"Travelin' Soldier" is a song written and originally recorded by American country music artist Bruce Robison in 1996 and again, in rewritten form, in 1999. It was later recorded by Ty England on his 1999 album, Highways & Dance Halls. The first rendition to be issued as a single was by the Dixie Chicks in December 2002, from their album Home. It became the group's sixth and final single to reach No. 1 on Billboard "Hot Country Singles & Tracks" (now "Hot Country Songs"). A version of the song featuring Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Bruce Robison and Robison's wife, Kelly Willis, appears on KGSR's Broadcasts Vol. 13 album.[1]

Content[edit]

The song is a tale about a shy, lonesome, young American soldier who strikes up a conversation and later a correspondence with a high school girl during the Vietnam War era. Americana details pervade the lyrics, including piers, school bands, public prayer, and Friday night football games. At the end, the soldier has died, unnoticed by any but the young girl he realized he had fallen in love with.

Reception[edit]

Kevin John Coyne, reviewing the song for Country Universe, rated the song No. 17 on his list of the 201 Greatest Singles of the Decade. He stated that "it's the story between the lines that drives home the tragedy, as both main characters have a palpable sense of loneliness that they finally find relief from in one another just before they are ripped permanently apart."[2]

Dixie Chicks controversy[edit]

The song was being promoted by the Dixie Chicks when on March 10, 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines told a London, England, audience the band was ashamed that then United States President George W. Bush was from Texas. Subsequent U.S. publication of Maines' comments caused some stations, including 42 owned by Cumulus Media, to drop the song from their playlists, causing it to fall from No. 1 on the country singles chart to No. 3 the following week, March 29, before disappearing from the charts entirely.[3]

"Travelin' Soldier" is the last single released by the Dixie Chicks to reach the top 20 on the country singles chart, although their 2007 single "Not Ready to Make Nice", peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 while reaching No. 36 on the country chart.

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2003)Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4]1
US Billboard Hot 100[5]25

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2003)Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[6]48

Other versions[edit]

Sheryl Crow released a cover in 2003, shortly after the Dixie Chicks' version fell from No. 1.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Preceded by
"Man to Man" by Gary Allan
Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks number-one single
March 22, 2003
Succeeded by
"Brokenheartsville" by Joe Nichols