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dixie chicksNow that the right has knocked the Dixie Chicks off of the #1 country charts for their rather benign statements supporting peace (lead singer Natalie Maines said to a concert crowd in London, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President is from Texas"), let's strike back by making the Dixie Chicks #1 on the national charts. As antiwar music fan Toby Barlow says, "Let's show that you can't publicly tar and feather people just because they dare to object to bombing cities and killing people."

Music fans, radio stations, right-wing media personalities, and even multinational corporations put the Chicks on their hit list. Megacorporation Clear Channel Entertainment, which owns 1,233 radio stations across the nation and has lately come under fire for sponsoring pro-war rallies around the country, has pulled the group from many of its radio playlists. What can we do to counter the criticism of the Chicks, and other socially conscious musicians? The answer is as simple as Bush's response to the 9/11 attacks: start consuming! As a collective act for peace, let's take five minutes and buy the Dixie Chicks' album "Home."

There are many other musicians who have spoken out against the war, and they also deserve our support. At least 70 groups spanning the musical spectrum are on the roster of Musicians United to Win Without War, an organization that coalesced in just a few weeks around a shared belief that war is "wrong, absurd and dangerous to all of our futures." Visit the Musicians United website to see who else is on their statement of conscience, and then support these artists by listening to their music, seeing them in concert, purchasing their albums, and spreading the word.

To get you started, we've jotted down a few thoughts about our favorite performers on their list. Crank up your stereos and kick out the jams!

Some of our favorites

Ani DiFranco In many ways, Ani DiFranco is the end-all, be-all of DIY musicianship. She is a legendary figure with legions of zealous fans, and she's created an empire from the ground up without compromising her considerable principles or giving an inch to the corporate record industry. Above and beyond all this, she is a tremendously talented, genuine and wise woman. Listen to her heart-wrenchingly profound and beautiful poem Self-Evident on her website, and check out "Evolve," her 22nd album and the newest release on the label she created, Righteous Babe Records.

Brian Eno The master producer has created an epic legacy of timeless albums for David Byrne, the Talking Heads, David Bowie, Roxy Music and countless others. But for a little musical treat, go to your favorite CD store and check out Eno's "Another Green World," and experience a less-known side of this famed rock genius.

Joe Henry Joe Henry's album "Scar" was a break-through for the talented singer-songwriter. His complex mix of rich melodies and jazz inflections , wrapped around sweet, romantic songs, have tagged him for stardom. Less bluesy than fellow famed crooner Tom Waits, Henry's depth and intensity are compelling. When you listen to "Scar," don't be surprised when at the end, after some quiet time, Ornette Coleman, a Henry hero, shows up for a visit.

Massive Attack Massive Attack's "100th Window" represents the return of the trip-hop pioneers to center stage, this time with Sinead O'Connor's luminous voice floating over the somewhat dark electronica. These guys are very politically in tune ... check out their Flash-intensive web site for treats and some anti-war education. If you dig "100th Window," be sure to go back to their masterworks: Blue Lines and Protection.

Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott Fresh off a Grammy win for Best Female Rap Performance on her album "Under Construction," Missy Elliott has solidified her position as the Queen of Hip Hop. With each release she gets bigger, brasher, and seriously weirder. Her previous album, "Miss E ... So Addictive" is the second-highest selling female hip hop album of all time, and "Under Construction" is certain to tear down all the old records, just to rebuild them in her image.

Natalie Merchant Blessed with one of the most instantly recognizable voices in music, Natalie Merchant has created a hugely successful body of work, from her early days with 10,000 Maniacs to her large solo oeuvre, to contributing vocals to albums of Woody Guthrie's music, interpretations of Disney music, and abortion rights benefit albums. Her music is a perfect accompaniment for any activity: It's immensely pleasurable to drive, bathe, garden, run, protest or cook with her tunes flitting through your head.

OutKast Go ahead: take a look at the cover of OutKast's 2000 megahit "Stankonia." Big Boi and Andre 3000 stand arrogant in front of a black-and-white U.S. flag. This confidence is well- deserved. Their flamboyant swagger cuts directly to the core of the duo's essence: riotous, raucous and raunchy Dirty South hip hop that pairs the rage of the civil rights movement with the feel-good vibe of their hometown's massive street party, Freaknik. "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)" is one of the most political party anthems of all time, with machine-gun staccato snares over an ass-shaking kick drum that evokes Rage Against the Machine as much as George Clinton. The group will release "Speakerbox/Love Hater" in April, a double/solo album showcasing each man's unique skills and sensibilities, and inevitably taking hip hop into new territory.

Raphael Saadiq This R&B/Soul veteran grew up in a rough part of East Oakland and launched his career nearly two decades ago with Tony! Toni! Tone!, a group that blended gospel and R&B. A successful producer of other musicians, he has a well-reviewed "gospedelic" solo album, "Instant Vintage," and between the two roles he was nominated for five Grammies this year. Because of the role music programs in the public schools played in his life, he has launched an innovative program in conjunction with USC called "Let the Music Play," a school for the arts where aspiring musicians can study everything from musical theory to voice and piano. "Everything that's in the world, you have to have inside the schools," he said recently. "It's how you show off -- you play an instrument or you play sports. If you don't have anything to show off, you're either going to fight somebody or shoot somebody."

Sonic Youth The original avant noise-rockers are now aging into their 40's, but have been true icons of rock since the late 1980s when their lively, rebellious, political music made its mark. Their latest release, "Murray Street," was hailed as one of the most poignant and sensitive post-9/11 artistic statements.

Wilco "Distance has a way of making love understandable..." With that line from 2002's revered "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," Wilco singer Jeff Tweedy perfectly sums up the band's career arc. Their 1996 classic "Being There" took country music's twang off the honky-tonk barstools and into the pot-smoky living rooms of Everytown, U.S.A. Now Wilco is blazing a new trail, similar to the one Radiohead forged with "Kid A" in 2000, pushing the boundaries of pop, rock and country into spaces never before imagined, but all the more beautiful for their remoteness. "Foxtrot" finds them so far out in orbit that only the barest country sentiments remain. But the love is still there, unquestionably and deeply affecting.

Other notables on the anti-war list: Dave Matthews, George Clinton, Sheryl Crow, REM, Fugazi, Laurie Anderson and dozens of others.

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