first commercially released work was background vocals on
Pat Green's debut album, Dancehall Dreamer, produced by her
father Lloyd Maines and released in 1995. In late 1995, at
the age of 21, Maines joined the all-female country music
band Dixie Chicks which has been performing since 1989.
Maines replaced founding lead singer Laura Lynch, and also
plays a variety of different guitars for the band.
Maines co-wrote four tracks for the Dixie Chicks' first
three albums, including the Billboard Hot Country
Singles & Tracks Chart number one hit "Without You" on
Fly. Maines was a primary songwriter on all 14 tracks of
the band's 2006 album Taking the Long
Way which peaked on the Billboard Top 200 Chart at
number one. Taking the Long Way includes the Hot Country
Songs top-40 single "Not Ready to Make Nice," for which
the band won the songwriting Grammy award, Song of the
Year. Maines considers the songwriting she did for
Taking the Long Way "pure therapy" after the controversy
that ensued over a comment Maines made from the stage in London
that was seen as criticizing U.S. President George W.
Bush. "Everything felt more personal this time," Maines
said about the album, "...there's just more maturity,
depth, intelligence...[These songs] feel more grown-up."
Maines collaborates with other musical artists, both as
a Dixie Chick and an individual singer. The Dixie Chicks
first worked with rocker Sheryl Crow in 1999 while
performing for the concert tour Lilith Fair. Since then,
the Dixie Chicks have worked with Crow on her Sheryl
Crow and Friends: Live from Central Park album, a Crow
remixed version of "Landslide" performed by the Chicks,
and the Dixie Chicks song "Favorite Year" from Taking
the Long Way. Other artists Maines has worked with
include Pat Green, Charlie Robison, Yellowcard, Stevie
Nicks, Patty Griffin and Pete Yorn.
Maines is a friend of Howard Stern and has made several
appearances on his show.
On May 7, 2013, Maines released a solo album entitled Mother.
This is Maines's first album since the Dixie Chicks hiatus started
in 2007. The album was co-produced by Ben Harper. The album contains
Maines's interpretation of several cover songs, including Pink Floyd's
"Mother", Eddie Vedder's "Without You", and Jeff
Buckley's "Lover, You Should've Come Over".
She also sings about motherhood, feminism, and painful relationships.