Martha Elenor Maguire (née Erwin, previously Seidel; October 12, 1969) is an American musician who is a founding member of both the all-female alternative country band The Chicks and country bluegrass duo Court Yard Hounds. She won awards in national fiddle championships while still a teenager. Erwin is accomplished on several other instruments, including the mandolin, viola, double 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.Erwin learned several instruments at a young age, honing her skills with her younger sister, Emily Strayer (born Emily Erwin) and two schoolmates (a brother and sister team, Troy and Sharon Gilchrist) for over five years as a part of a touring bluegrass quartet while in high school. 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 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. Erwin subsequently stood by her bandmates as they were engulfed in political controversy.
Martie married pharmaceutical representative Ted Seidel on June 17, 1995, and changed her last name to Seidel. She also was stepmother to his son, Carter. However, her marriage did not last, and she and Ted Seidel were divorced in November 1999.At bandmate Natalie Maines' sister Kim's wedding, Martie met Gareth Maguire, a Roman Catholic teacher and actor from Carnlough, Northern Ireland. The couple became engaged in June 2001 and married on August 10, 2001, in a civil ceremony in Hawaii; as explained at one of their concerts, the Dixie Chicks' song "White Trash Wedding" is based on Martie's relationship with Gareth. Later they had a Catholic "blessing" ceremony in the groom's hometown, Carnlough in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on March 9, 2002, for all the guests that were not able to attend the first wedding. Martie said of the ceremony that the Catholic Church would not permit a wedding service due to her prior divorce. Erwin said that there were many "special" people that they had wanted to include, but that they just could not wait to marry. Another reason for the rush was Gareth's need to keep flying back and forth between the United States and Ireland because of visa considerations.After her second marriage, Martie changed her name to that of her new husband, which is why in her musical career she has had the surnames of Erwin, Seidel, and Maguire. They had three daughters together: fraternal twins Eva Ruth and Kathleen 'Katie' Emilie were born April 27, 2004. Katie was named after Gareth's late sister, Kathleen. Third daughter Harper Rosie Maguire was born July 25, 2008. The couple divorced in 2013.Erwin has been frank about using in vitro fertilization to conceive their daughters. In an interview in Conceive, she said, "All my paperwork said 'unspecified origin.' We spent three years of active trying before we went to IVF. First I went on Clomid. Then I had some dye tests and found I had a collapsed tube, so I had laparoscopic surgery; the tube wasn't blocked, just spasming." After three attempts at intrauterine insemination, she said, she and her husband didn't think it was worth continuing in that manner, and switched to IVF. In August 2007, Maguire began IVF again, resulting in their third daughter Harper.Regarding the number of children the Dixie Chicks had produced in the past seven years, (Maines had two; Strayer had four in addition to Erwin's twins and newborn) Erwin told People in 2008, "We'll have to move over and let the little chicks take over! We've got a new band!"Erwin and Strayer co-wrote a song, "So Hard", about their own personal experiences with infertility and their need to rely on other methods to conceive. They speak out about the difficulties they faced, but also their good fortune; both having options that for many women are financially prohibitive. Mentioning the stigma attached to IVF, Erwin said, "I think we feel a responsibility to break down some barriers. It's much more of a common problem than people realize." A final concern Erwin mentioned was the question of what to do with all the unused frozen embryos.Now that I have children, I see those embryos as possible children. So I have to think about what my options are if there are leftovers again. I could keep them in storage, and maybe they will help my children some day. Or I can try to donate them to stem cell research. I don't think I could give them to another family. I would always worry: what if it's an abusive family? What if they don't get enough love?Natalie Maines has said she and Erwin learned Transcendental Meditation in the mid-1990s.
Martha Elenor Erwin, nicknamed Martie, was born October 12, 1969, in York, Pennsylvania.Encouraged by her parents – educators at private schools – Erwin began playing violin at age five, and by age 12, started to learn to play "fiddle style" after receiving a birthday gift of fiddle lessons. She also was active in her school orchestra.Her sister Emily shared her love and interest in music, and displayed early talent herself. The two sisters were provided musical instruction on several instruments, and their talent for vocal harmony continued to be nurtured. Although Erwin became famous for her harmony and mastery of the fiddle, she also plays a variety of strings that include the viola, guitar, mandolin, and double bass. Erwin composes songs and arranges the use of stringed instruments for concert and recording performances.
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