Terri Clark, Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss hit Virginia with Chicks with Hits

Trio appeared together on stage at the Birchmere

They’re the “Chicks with Hits.” Also the “Chicks with Hats.” Maybe the “Chicks with Guitars.” But to me? They’re just damn good country stars.

Tonight (Wed, Nov 3rd) at the legendary Birchmere venue in Alexandria, VA, an all-star lineup of 90’s country queens took the stage for an acoustic set. Suzy Bogguss, Terri Clark, and Pam Tillis delivered their most-loved songs and the stories behind them.

Early in the set, Bogguss shared that record execs did not want her to record the oft-covered “Someday Soon,” fearing it would be compared to previous iterations. The studio ended up releasing it as a single, and it has become one of her signature tunes.

Clark explained that “If I Were You” was written when she decided to break up with her first husband, Ted.

Tillis, who was recovering from a sprained wrist, played guitar for the first time in eight weeks at the Birchmere on her hit “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life).” The rest of the evening, her bandmate Haley Sullivan filled in on guitar while Tillis played small percussion instruments.

The entertaining comradery between the three stalwarts made the music that much more enjoyable. And though the setlist was indeed planned, there were moments of spontaneity, such as when Clark broke out into a scarily spot-on impression of John Anderson.

With no room for new music or deep cuts, the trio kept to their hits. All three wore some kind of hat, with Clark — famously the only woman in a “cowgirl” hat from the 90’s — said “We all decided to be hat acts tonight!”

The harmonies of Clark, Tillis, and Bogguss blended so well, it was as if they had been meant to sing together forever. Clark’s vocal matter-of-factness shone through on “Girls Lie Too.” Bogguss’ aching soulfulness on “Aces” had the crowd on the edge of their seats. And Tillis’ tenderness on “Maybe it Was Memphis” earned one of the biggest ovations of the night.

In fact, all three women broke barriers in the music industry. Bogguss intimated that a commonality they all shared is that at one point or another, some suit had told them his label had met the “quota” of female artists for the year. Except for that one quip — drawing supportive jeers from the crowd — the night was not about their gender. It was about the music and all the universal things country artists write about: love, betrayal, sex, divorce.

This package show to end all package shows was put together by Clark, who said she waited tables in honky tonks while listening to the elder (but not by much, she insisted) Bogguss and Tillis on the radio. Now, all these years later, just their guitars, hats, and songs, they tour to a loyal and ever-grateful crowd.

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Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews. Email: matt@themusicuniverse.com
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