Martie Maguire is a Grammy Award-winning American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a founding member of the female alternative country band, Dixie Chicks. She won awards in national fiddle championships while still a teenager. Maguire is accomplished on several other instruments, including the mandolin, viola, acoustic bass, and guitar. She has written and co-written a number of the band's songs, some of which have become chart-topping hits. She also contributes her skills in vocal harmony and backing vocals, as well as orchestrating string arrangements for the band.
Maguire learned several instruments at a young age, honing her skills with her sister, Emily Robison (neé Emily Erwin), by playing together with two other schoolmates for over five years as a part of a high school touring bluegrass quartet. After graduation, the sisters forged an alliance with two other women they had met through the Dallas music scene, Laura Lynch and Robin Lynn Macy, forming a bluegrass and country music band, busking and touring the bluegrass festival circuits for six years. After the departure of Macy, and the replacement of Lynch with singer-songwriter Natalie Maines, the band widened their musical repertoire and appearance. The result was a trio so commercially successful that it took the country music industry by surprise, with a number of hit songs, albums, and awards that have set records in the music industry. Maguire subsequently stood by her bandmates as they were engulfed in political controversy.
Martha Elenor Erwin (nicknamed "Martie") was born October 12, 1969, in York, Pennsylvania, but was raised in Addison, a northern suburban town on the edge of Dallas, Texas, with an older sister, Julia Erwin-Weiner, two years her senior, and younger sister, Emily, to parents Paul Erwin and Barbara Trask. Encouraged by her parents- both educators at private schools - Maguire began playing classical violin at age five, and by age 12, was learning to play "fiddle style", with a birthday gift of fiddle lessons, and was active in her school orchestra. Emily Erwin, (later known as Emily Robison), three years her junior, also shared an early talent, interest and love of music, and the two were provided musical instruction on several instruments. Because of this, although Maguire became famous for her ability in vocal harmony, and mastery of the fiddle, she also plays a variety of stringed instruments that include the viola, guitar, mandolin, and bass.