Country may have turned its back on them, but they’d suddenly been opened up to a wider pop audience. The swept at the Grammys, winning all six categories it had been nominated in, including Album of the Year, and helped them develop what Maines described to the NYT as “a true ability to not care.” But it also took its toll.
When it was done, “I was tired,” Maines added. “I just wanted to raise my kids.”
So, they went on hiatus. While apart, they released music of their own—Maines, an album of covers called Mother, while real-life sisters Maguire and Stayer recorded two albums under the name Court Yard Hounds. And yet, they could never manage to stay away from each other for too long, reuniting for tours in 2010, 2013 and, eventually, a massive headlining tour throughout North America in 2016.
They could’ve kept on like that, just successfully touring thanks to the enormous amount of cultural cachet they’d garnered over the years, but something drew them back to the studio. And in 2018, after signing with new management, they were at work on what would eventually become Gaslighter, named after the term, used to describe a person who manipulates the truth to make the victim of their abuse feel crazy, that’s found itself used with some frequency these days.