Her signature song is “Redneck Woman” and she named her self-financed label Redneck Records. It’s safe to say Gretchen Wilson is comfortable with being branded as a redneck.
In fact, she might well be one of the most ardent fans of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck…” one-liners.
“I laugh at redneck jokes harder than anyone else because there’s nothing funnier than the truth,” she told The Bergen County Record of New Jersey. “But I think the definition of a redneck woman is just that of a very confident woman, a very secure woman, who isn’t following the fads. I know I’m the best that I can be, and that’s good enough for me.”
Gretchen rather famously grew up in a town called Pocahontas in Southern Illinois, tending bar and working in a series of bands as she tried to make her way as a musician. She didn’t get much formal music training — and didn’t think it was required.
“When you know you want to grow up and sing like Loretta Lynn, you just don’t need that,” she said.
Unfortunately, she didn’t get her high-school diploma, either, though Gretchen made up for that in later life, earning her GED two years ago in Tennessee’s Wilson County. She’s now a major advocate for adult education, which likely contributed to her current path as an entrepreneur. She formed the Redneck label last year after her more traditional deal with a major Nashville company hit a roadblock. She hired her own employees and went to work promoting her Top 20 hit “Work Hard, Play Harder” and released her first album, I Got Your Country Right Here, in March.
“Having the certificate, having brushed up on all that math comes in pretty handy,” she said.
In the meantime, Gretchen will be rolling through the Northeast this weekend, playing “Redneck Woman” and songs from the new album. The schedule has her in Chautauqua, N.Y., on Friday; Havelock, Ontario, on Saturday; and LaFargeville, N.Y., on Sunday.