The Chicks were the ’90s biggest country crossover success story, and one of Nashville’s sharpest attempts at adding a little country fry to the pop music formula. In 1998, Wide Open Spaces was inescapable, selling 12 million copies at a time when it was possible for physical releases to move those kinds of numbers. The Chicks also set the stage for later country crossover acts — most notably Taylor Swift, who has been effusive in her praise of their music.
And now, a new era of women who were raised on the Chicks are releasing their own albums. Women like Nashville native Sophie Allison, who goes by Soccer Mommy on stage. Allison’s built a lot of buzz for the strength of her lofi pop songwriting, so her cover of “Wide Open Spaces” feels like a natural fit. “I’m a huge Dixie Chicks fan,” she told NPR. “I think ‘Wide Open Spaces’ is one of those perfect ’90s alt-country songs. Plus it’s relatable to any girl who’s moved away from home and had to start a new life somewhere.”
Allison doesn’t have the benefit of the Chicks’ built-in harmonies, but by slowing the song’s tempo down a little and replacing the fiddles with fuzzy guitars, the song sounds more introspective and dreamy — reflecting on those wide open spaces instead of actually dancing around in them. Like the best covers, it stays true to the original’s energy while finding new layers of meaning. In the song’s final seconds, it explores its own spaces through a spectacular sonic breakdown. It does the Chicks proud.