Posted Nov 9th 2009 8:00AM by Donna Hughes
What probably comes to mind when you hear the name Gretchen Wilson is party girl or redneck woman, but she's so much more. She's an extraordinary singer-songwriter, a mother who loves to play tickle on the couch with her 8-year-old daughter; she's the CEO of her own corporation, an advocate for adult literacy and education, a friend to the working class, a student and now president of her own record label, Redneck Records.
The multi-platinum artist and her longtime record label, Sony Nashville, parted ways last year, after having been together since 2004 -- the year the Pocahontas, Ill., native exploded onto the charts with the working-class anthem 'Redneck Woman.' While it was a difficult decision to make -- having together released three albums, 'Here for the Party,' 'All Jacked Up,' and 'One of the Boys' -- Gretchen knew she had to move on from that partnership and take charge of her musical direction. It wasn't easy starting her own label, but she's already been in charge of her publishing and touring companies, so it wouldn't be that much different than what she was already used to doing. And as president of Redneck Records, Gretchen oversees virtually all aspects of the label.
The new single, 'Work Hard, Play Harder,' hit the airwaves this week, with Gretchen's new album, 'I Got Your Country Right Here', due out early next year.
The Boot sat down with Gretchen at the recording studio on her farm in Lebanon, Tenn., to chat about starting her own label. We also talked to the illustrious entertainer about cherished childhood memories from a 'toxic' trailer park, the joys of being a mom, her guilty pleasures and one of the accomplishments of which she's most proud -- the 2009 National Coalition for Literacy Leadership Award she received at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC..
Charlie Daniels and his wife Hazel told me a long time ago to take care of my own money, so I've been doing that ever since I could get my hands around it. Every question that gets asked about Gretchen Wilson needs an approval from Gretchen Wilson -- it comes directly to me, instead of someone else having to guess or decide for me. And I'm learning new things that I can do every day that my hands were tied on before. If, for instance, the homeless shelter desperately needs something, I can run in here to my studio, pick up an acoustic guitar, record a song, throw it up for a dollar a pop on my website and donate all the money to that charitable thing, whatever it is. These are things that I could not do before because the music wasn't mine only. And there were too many other people involved with the actual money. I'm freaking out every day going, "Oh my gosh, I can do that now? Really?"