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Founding Member of The Dixie Chicks, Laura Lynch, Dies in Car Crash at 65

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EL PASO, USA – Laura Lynch, a founding member of the renowned music group The Dixie Chicks, now known as The Chicks, tragically lost her life in a head-on collision in El Paso, Texas, police confirmed on Saturday. She was 65 years old.

The accident occurred on Friday, December 22, 2023, around 5:45 p.m. local time. Lynch was traveling eastbound on U.S. 62 when a car, going in the opposite direction, attempted to overtake another vehicle on a two-way undivided portion of the highway, leading to the fatal crash, as reported by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The band expressed their deep sorrow over Lynch’s death, stating, “We are shocked and saddened by her death. We hold a special place in our hearts for the time we spent playing music, laughing, and traveling together.”

The statement from The Chicks highlighted Lynch’s vibrant personality and her pivotal role in the band’s early days.

“Laura was a bright light… her infectious energy and humor gave a spark to the early days of our band,” they said. “Laura had a gift for design, a love of all things Texas and was instrumental in the early success of the band. Her undeniable talents helped propel us beyond busking on street corners to stages all across Texas and the mid-West.”

The band ended their statement by saying, “Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones at this sad time.”

 

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Police reported that Lynch was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. She was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

The other vehicle involved caught fire, and its driver was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Laura Lynch: Reflecting on a Legacy in Music and Beyond

Laura Lynch, who grew up on her grandfather’s ranch in Texas, played a pivotal role in shaping the country music landscape.

Lynch co-founded The Dixie Chicks in 1989 alongside Robin Lynn Macy, Martie Erwin, and Emily Erwin, as per Billboard. As a talented bassist, she played a critical role in finding the group’s tone. She later took on the role of singer in the group.

She famously described their music as “cowgirl music” in a 1992 interview with National Public Radio.

“Our brand of cowgirl music is a mixture of old-time country music, bluegrass music, acoustic,” Lynch said. “We all sing three-part and four-part harmony. We throw in some instrumentals, some country swing. That’s our brand of cowgirl music.”

Dixie Chicks
Emily Strayer, left, Laura Lynch and Martie Maguire, three original members of the Dixie Chicks, in 1993. | Ralph Lauer/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

This description encapsulated the unique blend of genres that defined the early sound of The Dixie Chicks, a sound that Lynch significantly contributed to and helped popularize.

The band’s early years were marked by a commitment to acoustic sounds and rich vocal harmonies, setting them apart in the music industry.

Robin Lynn Macy’s departure from the band in 1992 marked a turning point, and the following year, the remaining trio released “Shouldn’t A Told You That,” experiencing moderate success.

Lynch recorded three albums with the country band — Thank Heavens for Dale Evans (1990), Little Ol’ Cowgirl (1992) and Shouldn’t a Told You That (1993).

A notable highlight in their early career was playing at an inaugural ball for President Bill Clinton in 1993, showcasing their rising profile.

However, in 1995, Lynch’s journey with the band came to an end. She was replaced by Natalie Maines, a decision that Martie Maguire of The Chicks described as part of a re-evaluation of the band’s future.

“We were facing going on our seventh year, we were starting to re-evaluate things,” Maguire said in a 1996 interview with The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We were making a future decision.”

Maguire noted that Lynch did not see herself on the road in the long term.

Despite her departure, the band remembered Lynch fondly. On social media, The Chicks described her as a “bright light” whose “infectious energy and humor gave a spark to the early days of our band.”

Laura Lynch, center, performs with the Dixie Chicks in 1993.Courtesy Everett Collection
Laura Lynch, center, performs with the Dixie Chicks in 1993. | Courtesy Everett Collection

They acknowledged her contributions to the band’s design, her love for Texas, and her role in their early success, which took them from street corners to stages across Texas and the mid-West.

In June 2020, the band formerly known as The Dixie Chicks underwent a significant transformation, changing their name to The Chicks.

This decision came in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests against racism across America. The term “Dixie,” historically associated with the Confederate South and its legacy of slavery, prompted the band to reconsider its name as part of a broader movement to address and dismantle systemic racism.

Post her tenure with The Dixie Chicks, Lynch pivoted her career to become a public relations officer at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

In a 2003 interview with The Associated Press, Lynch reflected on her life after the band, mentioning her engagement with oil painting and her dedication to raising her daughter.

“It was worth it,” she said about her time with The Dixie Chicks. “I’d get anemic all over again to do it.”

She reportedly had one daughter named Asia. Lynch’s family life gained public attention when her husband, Mac Wells, won a significant lottery jackpot of $26.8 million in the early 1990s.

Laura Lynch’s impact on country music, particularly in shaping the early sound and success of The Dixie Chicks, remains an integral part of her legacy.

Lynch’s untimely death marks a sorrowful moment for the music world, especially for fans and members of The Chicks, who remember her not just for her musical contributions, but also for the joy and energy she brought to the group.

Her legacy in the band and the broader music community will be remembered fondly by those who were touched by her talent and spirit.

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