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Here for the Party

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Album Review

Taking its cues from her hit single "Redneck Woman," Here for the Party's opening title track introduces Gretchen Wilson in no uncertain terms. "I'm here for the beer and the ball-bustin' band," she sings over its emphatic kick drum beat and barroom twang. "I may not be a ten, but the boys say I clean up good." The vocalist's brassy delivery — not to mention her brazen honesty — differs considerably from the songbirds that often surround her on country radio in 2004. In fact, she's closer to the leather pants and poppy honky tonk of Tanya Tucker's 1978 effort T.N.T. Tucker is referenced in the aforementioned "Redneck Woman," as are Hank Williams, Jr. and Kid Rock, who also seem like primary sources for Wilson's mix of traditional country, pop accessibility, and uncut rock & roll attitude. Though she happily belts out the harder edges of "Homewrecker" and the hometown tribute "Pocahontas Proud," Wilson is also convincing on the ballad "When I Think About Cheatin'," and the softer tones of "What Happened." These tracks give Party some welcome depth, playing off its more rowdy material nicely and proving that Wilson isn't just a loudmouth novelty. Sure, that mud on her jeans in the back cover photo is real. But so is the sentiment in "Holdin' You," when she declares that "Holdin' you/Holds me together." Gretchen Wilson may be a redneck woman, but she has a heart of gold.

Biography

Born: 26 June 1973 in Pocahontas, IL

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s, '10s

In late May 2004, Gretchen Wilson's debut single, "Redneck Woman," became the first by a solo female singer to top the Billboard country singles chart in over two years; it also reached number one faster than any single in the previous decade. At the same time, her debut album, Here for the Party, entered the country album chart at number one and the pop album chart at number two with sales of 227,000 copies, the biggest opening week for a new country artist on record. Given the overtly country style...
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Here for the Party, Gretchen Wilson
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