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Being "Natalie's dad" suits ace producer just fine

By Joel Bernstein, July 2000

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One artist Maines has pro- ' duced for is Texas phenom Pat Green. "He draws huge crowds and sells a lot of records. He's progressed with every record. He's exploded into a Texas happening. To my knowledge, he's never played a gig outside of Texas. He's made so much money here, he hasn't seen a need to leave. I think eventually he will go outside. He's got to be getting some attention in Nashville. He sells more records than half of their hat acts."

As to the famous Maines daughter, "her mother says 'I've known since she was three or four that she had something.' She didn't sing like other little kids. She would take command of the situation. Even though I was in the business, we never pushed her or even encouraged her. She won a scholarship to Berklee School of Music (in Boston). She learned a lot, but she was lonesome, and after one semester, she came back to Texas Tech. She knew she wanted to sing."

"I played on two of The Dixie Chicks' early albums. They couldn't get past their local hero status. They'd ask my advice and confide in me. (Former lead singer) Laura had a 13-year old daughter and was unhappy with all the traveling. Martie and Emily only knew Natalie's singing from her Berklee demo tape. They called and said 'We don't know how we'll get along, but we love her voice.' They asked what I thought, and I said 'She's a great singer, but I'm not sure she's ready for this.' This was a Tuesday. Two nights later, they offered Natalie the job if she'd come to Dallas. She moved down there on Sunday. The next Tuesday, they did their first gig. She pulled it off mistake-free. Two weeks later, I played at Billy Bob's with them. I was in awe. She walked out on that stage and acted like she'd been there forever."

"On one hand, we were apprehensive about our baby girl. But we knew Martie (Seidel) and Emily (Robison) well, and they were smart girls with a work ethic second to none. They would set up their own gear, do their own accounting, their own financing. We knew that she was with good girls."

Around this time, an Amarillo group called The Groobees sent Lloyd a demo tape in hopes he would produce them. "The first song on the CD was 'Wide Open Spaces.' (written by their vocalist Susan Gibson). I played it 10 times before I went to the second song. The more I heard it I thought I'd ask about giving the song to the Chicks. They said, 'okay, but we're still going to put our record out.'" (Maines did produce it).

"I gave the song to Natalie, and the other girls fell for it. They started doing it live and getting good response."

The epilogue is that the song just passed the prestigious 1 million plays mark.

And as for being just 'Natalie's dad,' Lloyd says "I couldn't care less. I'm so proud of their success. I don't care how people refer to me. I was already busy as hell before." Maines remains busy in studio, working recently with Gary P. Nunn and Hank Thompson as well as newer acts Adam Carroll and Kevin Deal.

But having a star in the family has had benefits. "It gives me a chance to play some cool shows like Letterman and Leno. I work with so many people that are kind of off the wall - they're great but will never see that level of success - that this has been a lot of fun."

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