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I Got Your Country Right Here

Gretchen Wilson

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Album Review

When Gretchen Wilson released One of the Boys in 2007, she took a left turn and offered as many ballads as she did straight contemporary country-rockers. The album didn’t sell as well as its two predecessors. Wilson went into the studio and cut I Got Your Country Right Here two years later — producing it with Blake Chancey and two tracks with John Rich. She felt it reflected her live shows better than her previous recordings did and would connect better with her audience. Given the ever-fickle nature of Nashville’s music industry, the end product resulted in a difference of opinion between Wilson and Sony. She ended up buying the record and her contract up and severed her ties. Thus the album is released on her newly formed Redneck Records imprint. Wilson claims this is the first female Southern rock album. She may be right, but it’s got plenty to attract country radio programmers, including “Earrings Song,” a stomping, two-stepping modern country “spoiling for a catfight” anthem — complete with dual lead guitars, woolly fiddle, and crackling drums supporting a tight, catchy melody. The “Southern rock” is here in spades, though it's a modern version. It's in the bluesy, hard-rocking single “Work Hard, Play Harder” and the name-checking title track — some of those names are Charlie Daniels, the Allman Brothers, Waylon Jennings, Hank Jr., and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The enormous guitars and uncompressed drums are a real nod to history, even if some other sonics are full of contemporary country trappings. “Trucker Man” is another rocker, a nod to America’s highway kings. The prominence of the fiddle on these tracks is an acknowledgment to Daniels' influence, but the delivery is pure Gretchen. Her own “Blue Collar Done Turn Red” may not please liberals, but it is the hardest-rocking track on the set and Wilson is to be respected for her convictions — she won't accept otherwise. “Outlaws and Renegades” is a lament for FM radio and an indictment of contemporary rock and country music. There are a few ballads here, too; the best are the midtempo “Love on the Line,” with its staggering guitar crescendos, and the tender acoustic closer, “I’d Love to Be Your Last.” Gretchen Wilson was right to trust her gut on this one. I Got Your Country Right Here proves two things: that it rocks nearly as hard as her live shows and that she is not an industry-constructed image — she’s exactly who she’s portrayed herself to be all along.

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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I Got Your Country Right Here, Gretchen Wilson
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