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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gretchen Wilson: Redneck redefined

I enter Gretchen Wilson’s tour bus expecting to wade through drained Jack Daniels bottles and a passed out entourage of shaggy outlaws beached belly up on the floor after a wild night of booze-fueled brawling.  

Her number one hit “Redneck Woman” spawned an album of good time modern classics selling five million copies. The Grammy-winning collection is an homage to that perfect moment when man, music and muscatel convene to create a memory that both illuminates and hardens a woman. These are songs about being drunk, winking at the wrong guy, getting your tooth knocked out by his gorilla of a girlfriend, flashing that gapped grin at the next cowboy who walks through the door, and starting all over. 


I have come to talk to the jacked-up sweetheart of southern-fried country rock and am met by a self-contained business woman.  

She is wearing a grey tank top, loose curls and faded jeans. After hair and makeup, she is wearing a black tank top, loose curls, and slightly nicer jeans with a rhinestone belt. There is a sense of wanting to offer the audience something real. What you see is really what you get.  

Gretchen Wilson escorts me into a tidy RV stocked with bottled water. A flat-screen TV is running a George Carlin comedy skit as we sink into comfortable couches. Her adorable young daughter, dressed in age-appropriate pink peddle pushers, politely interrupts the interview from time to time to ask computer-related questions. There is a lesson about internet safety, and Ms. Wilson’s mothering advice is fair and firm.  

As we begin a casual conversation lapsing from lyrical analysis to gossipy personal details, she leans in and makes direct eye contact. Gretchen Wilson does not weigh and measure every phrase or edit her comments to match up with some publicist’s press release. It becomes clear that her redneck ethic is more about being the kind of woman who values individual expression over public opinion and less about being a honky tonk broad drinking the night away with dirty dogs.  

The most hardcore hairy son-of-a-bitch lurking around her trailer is a well groomed little Pomeranian puppy named Faith, who instantly assumes a supine position so that I am compelled to conduct the interview with one hand furiously writing while the other administers tummy rubs.  

Read the balance of the article here. Source: SCENE


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