Gretchen Wilson

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Gretchen Wilson
GretchenWilsonApr10.jpg
Wilson in April 2010
Background information
Birth name Gretchen Frances Wilson
Born (1973-06-26) June 26, 1973 (age 40)[1]
Pocahontas, Illinois[1]
Genres Country, Country-rock
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Acoustic guitar
Years active 2004–present
Labels Epic Nashville
Columbia Nashville
Redneck Records
Associated acts MuzikMafia
Big & Rich, Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock
Website GretchenWilson.com

Gretchen Frances Wilson (born June 26, 1973) is an American country music artist. She made her debut in 2004 with the Grammy Award-winning single "Redneck Woman", a number-one hit on the Billboard country charts. The song served as the lead-off single of her debut album, Here for the Party. Wilson followed this album one year later with All Jacked Up, the title track of which became the highest-debuting single for a female country artist upon its 2005 release. A third album, One of the Boys, was released in 2007.

Overall, Wilson has charted 13 singles on the Billboard country charts, of which five have reached Top Ten: the Number One "Redneck Woman", as well as "Here for the Party" (#3, 2004), "When I Think About Cheatin'" (#4, 2004), "Homewrecker" (#2, 2005), and "All Jacked Up" (#8, 2005). The album Here for the Party was certified 5× Multi-Platinum by the RIAA for sales of five million copies, while All Jacked Up was certified platinum. She has sold over 8 million records worldwide.

Early life[edit]

Gretchen Wilson was born in Pocahontas, Illinois, to a 16-year-old mother. Her father left before she was two years old, and she and her mother lived in trailer parks and relative poverty. Wilson's mother worked as a waitress, and Wilson herself dropped out of the 9th grade at age 15 to work as a cook and bartender in rural Illinois.

Wilson began singing in small bars around the St. Louis, Missouri area at age 15. In 1991, Susie Osburn, a bar manager from Springfield, Missouri, went to St. Louis to find a new house band for her bar, the Townhouse. She found 18-year-old Wilson singing Patsy Cline covers so well that Osburn initially thought the singing was coming from a jukebox. Recognizing Wilson's talent, Osburn immediately convinced her and her band, Sam-A-Lama, to move to Springfield and play at the Townhouse. In her biography, Wilson says it was the offer of a lifetime. After playing the Townhouse for two years at six nights a week, Wilson moved back home to Pocahontas before continuing on to Nashville.

Country music career[edit]

Here for the Party[edit]

Wilson performing in a concert

Wilson signed with Epic Records in 2003 and recorded Here for the Party within the year. Her first single, "Redneck Woman", was released in early 2004 and reached the top of the Hot Country Songs charts and No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. This song was also the first Number One country hit by a female in two years.[1] The success of "Redneck Woman" prompted an earlier-than-planned release for Here for the Party, and it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country chart. It also reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and Billboard Internet album sales charts. She performed as a support artist for Brooks & Dunn and Montgomery Gentry.

She released the title track to her debut album as the second single. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard country chart. Two other songs were released as singles, and both reached the top 10. Released in markets outside the U.S., the album hit No. 2 on the Australian country charts (behind Kasey Chambers) and the top 50 of the Australian charts. Here for the Party was certified 5× Multi-Platinum by the RIAA.

All Jacked Up[edit]

On September 27, 2005, Gretchen released her second album, All Jacked Up,[1] which peaked at No. 1 on both the Top 200 and Country album charts and sold 1 million copies. The title track debuted at No. 21 on the Hot Country Songs charts, setting a record for the highest debut ever made by a female artist. This record was broken in late 2007 by Carrie Underwood's "So Small". Despite its high debut, however, "All Jacked Up" peaked at No. 8 on Hot Country Songs after only eight chart weeks. It was also used, at one time, by ESPN as the opening theme for its baseball coverage. Three more singles were released from All Jacked Up: "I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today", "Politically Uncorrect" (a duet with Merle Haggard) and "California Girls", none of which reached Top 20 on the country charts. These latter two singles were issued on Columbia Records, due to the closure of Epic Records's Nashville division.

Wilson's "I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today" was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and Best Country Song. In 2006, Wilson contributed a well-received cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Mornin' Coming Down" on the tribute CD The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson.

One of the Boys[edit]

On May 15, 2007, Wilson released her third album, One of the Boys. The album debuted at No. 5 on the Top 200 and at No. 1 on the Country album chart. After 10 weeks, it exited the Billboard Top 200, having sold 178,220 copies at that point. "Come to Bed" (a duet with John Rich) and the title track, the first two singles released, both peaked in the 30s on the country charts, while the third and final single ("You Don't Have to Go Home") failed to reach the Top 40.

I Got Your Country Right Here[edit]

On July 14, 2008, Wilson released a new single, "Don't Do Me No Good". This song was intended to be the lead-off single to a fourth studio album, but it failed to reach the Top 40 and the album was delayed. It was followed in 2009 by two more singles, "The Earrings Song" and "If I Could Do It All Again," neither of which entered the charts. Wilson then issued a press release on July 28, 2009, stating that she would be parting with Sony Music Nashville.[2] Wilson then launched Redneck Records, her own record label. "Work Hard, Play Harder" was released to radio on October 26, 2009 as the first single from the label and her fourth studio album, I Got Your Country Right Here, was finally released on March 30, 2010. Her former label, Columbia Nashville, released her first Greatest Hits album on January 19, 2010, to finish off her recording contract.

Right on Time, Under the Covers and Christmas in My Heart[edit]

Wilson released an album of original songs titled Right on Time on April 2, 2013. It was led by the single "Still Rollin'". A collection of rock covers titled Under the Covers was released on June 4, 2013. Wilson released her first Christmas album, Christmas in My Heart, on October 8, 2013.[3]

Other ventures[edit]

Rock Music[edit]

While a country singer first and foremost, Gretchen Wilson has also attracted favorable attention[4] for her rendition of classic rock songs by Heart - a group which she sees as "one of the biggest influences on my musical career.".[5] She has appeared several times on the same stage as lead singer Ann Wilson and guitarist Nancy Wilson, once describing the experience as "beyond a dream come true".[6] She has sung "Straight On",[5] "Crazy on You",[7] and - most notably - "Barracuda",[8] which she performed with Alice in Chains and Nancy Wilson on guitar at the 2007 VH1 Rock Honors.[9]

Personal life[edit]

After a failed marriage to former Baywolfe bandmate Larry Rolens, she moved to Nashville and began dating Mike Penner. They have a daughter, Grace Frances Penner, who was born on November 9, 2000. Grace is Wilson's only child. Wilson and Penner are no longer together.

A lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, Wilson sang the national anthem in Game 4 of the 2004 World Series at Busch Stadium.[10] She did a reworked version of her biggest hit, Redneck Woman, titled, Redbird Fever, in honor of the Cardinals.

In 2007, Wilson completed the GED program and received her high school diploma, a source of great pride to her. She actively promotes adult education.

As of 2011 she lives in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Lawsuit[edit]

On July 31, 2008, The Black Crowes filed a lawsuit against Wilson for copyright violation, alleging that her song "Work Hard, Play Harder" copied the Crowes song "Jealous Again". Also included in the suit were her label Sony BMG, her publishing company, and the cable network TNT, which had been using the song in commercials.[11] The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum [12] and Black Crowes members Chris and Rich Robinson were given songwriting credits.[13]

Activism[edit]

Politics[edit]

Gretchen Wilson sang the National Anthem (blended with a voice-over of the Pledge of Allegiance) to a national audience at the Republican National Convention on September 3, 2008, later describing this as a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience at a "historic moment".[14] Wilson and her band also performed during a rally for Republican presidential candidate John McCain and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 22, 2008 to an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 12,000 supporters. Palin started the rally by exclaiming that she couldn't wait to get Wilson's autograph. Wilson played a version of the Heart song "Barracuda" for Palin.[15]

Charities and public service[edit]

Wilson has been active in support for children's charities, adult education, and the fight against obesity. Initiatives to date include: (1) Raising over $1.5 million through benefit performances for children’s charities, such as St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. (2) Serving as national spokesperson for Country Bands Together, a national obesity education and counseling/support campaign sponsored by Allergan. (3) Advocacy for adult education, including testimony before Congress on the value and importance of support for adult learners.[16]

Sports[edit]

In April 2010, Wilson released a customized version of "Work Hard, Play Harder" in honor of the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators, with reworked lyrics mentioning the team and its fans.[17] She also sponsors a women's softball team in Pierron, Illinois. Gretchen is also a St Louis Cardinals fan - her song Redneck Woman was reissued as Redbird Fever and became a favorite with the team & fans.

Awards[edit]

  • 2005 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year
  • 2004 ACM Top Female Vocalist
  • 2004 ACM Top New Artist
  • 2004 CMA Horizon Award
  • 2004 Grammy Award Best Female Country Vocal Performance[18]

Grammy Award history[edit]

Year Category Genre Album or Song Result
2005 Best Country Female Vocal Performance Country "Redneck Woman" Won [19]
Best New Artist General Herself Nominated [20]
Best Country Song Country "Redneck Woman" Nominated [21]
Best Country Album Country Here for the Party Nominated [21]
2006 Best Country Album Country All Jacked Up Nominated [22]
Best Female Country Vocal Performance Country "All Jacked Up" Nominated [22]
Best Country Song Country "All Jacked Up" Nominated [22]
Best Country Collaboration w/ Vocals Country "Politically Uncorrect" Nominated [22]
2008 Album of The Year General "These Days" (as featured artist) Nominated
2011 Best Female Country Vocal Performance Country "I'd Love To Be Your Last" Nominated

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Ruhlmann, William. "Gretchen Wilson biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  2. ^ "Gretchen Wilson, Sony Music part ways". CMT. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  3. ^ "Christmas in My Heart – Gretchen Wilson". Allmusic. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ 08:13 PM. "Wow Gretchen Wilson does a cover of Heart! - Telecaster Guitar Forum". Tdpri.com. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  5. ^ a b itogrr. "GRETCHEN WILSON Heart's 'Straight On' LIVE w/JOHN RICH". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  6. ^ "westcoastmusic: Gretchen Wilson (Country Music female artist) Jams With Heart". Noted.blogs.com. 2004-12-12. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ aljack100. "Gretchen Wilson & Alice in Chains - Barracuda". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  9. ^ aljack100. "Gretchen Wilson & Alice in Chains - Barracuda". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  10. ^ Major League Baseball on Fox: Game 4 of the 2004 World Series (television). Fox. October 27, 2004. 
  11. ^ Serpe, Gina (2008-07-30). "Black Crowes Caw Out Gretchen Wilson for Alleged Song Stealing". E! Online. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  12. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/soundcheck/http-480854-strong-wilson.html
  13. ^ http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/redneck-woman-gretchen-wilsons-search-for-radio-redemption/Content?oid=1227357
  14. ^ "Gretchen Wilson describes ‘surreal’ convention performance - Entertainment, Music". Army Times. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  15. ^ "Palin, McCain Rally At Airport", USA Today, October 23, 2008
  16. ^ http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/testimony/20090505GretchenWilsonTestimony.pdf[dead link]
  17. ^ blakegrant (2010-04-22). "Play Harder Predators Edit". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  18. ^ "Gretchen Wilson : Awards". CMT.com. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  19. ^ "2005 Grammy Award Winners". CBS News. February 14, 2005. 
  20. ^ "GRAMMYS 2005 : Nominees". VH1.com. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  21. ^ a b "GRAMMYS 2005 : Nominees". VH1.com. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  22. ^ a b c d December 8, 2005; Written by Craig Shelburne (2005-12-08). "News : Paisley, Wilson Earn Four Grammy Nominations Each". CMT. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 

External links[edit]