Tag Archives: Gretchen Wilson

Gretchen Wilson, "Don't Do Me No Good"

I don't think I've ever heard Gretchen Wilson rock out quite this much. There's a driving energy to “Don't Do Me No Good” that is relentless, and it helps gloss over the fact that once again, Wi

lson's material is not quite up to par.

This would make for decent album filler, but it's not distinctive or interesting enough to really stand out among her singles to date.

Grade: B

Listen: Don't Do Me No Good

Buy: Don't Do Me No Good

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100 Greatest Women, #56: Matraca Berg

100 Greatest Women

#56

Matraca Berg

When women became the dominant creative force in country music during the mid-nineties, it wasn’t just on the strength of their vocal talents, but also because of their excellent choice of material. No single songwriter supplied more of that quality material than Matraca Berg, one of the most prominent and successful female country songwriters in country music history.

Most songwriter stories begin with their journey to Nashville, but Matraca Berg was born in Music City. She grew up thinking that she’d either be a lawyer or a songwriter, and she later quipped that once she dropped out of high school, it was obvious that law wasn’t an option.

Not that it mattered much. Berg was only eighteen when she met up with songwriter legend Bobby Braddock (“D-I-V-O-R-C-E”, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”), who was very impressed with her self-written songs and suggested they pair up to write on together. The result was “Faking Love”, which went to No. 1 for T.G. Sheppard & Karen Brooks in 1983.

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100 Greatest Women, #85: Gretchen Wilson

100 Greatest Women

#85

Gretchen Wilson

Never underestimate the power of good timing. When Gretchen Wilson finally landed a recording contract after years of laboring in obscurity, country radio was more hostile to female artists than at any point in its modern history.

When her debut single “Redneck Woman” was released in 2004, Martina McBride was the only female artist who was consistently hitting the top ten with her singles. Two years earlier, when country sales had skyrocketed thanks to massive sales of new albums by superstars Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill, all of the credit for the boom was given to post-9/11 anthems by Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Darryl Worley. Country radio shunned Hill, Lee Ann Womack and SHeDaisy for their crossover sounds, and when Natalie Maines uttered her innocuous comment about President Bush in March 2003, the Dixie Chicks were instantly removed from country radio playlists. They were the only female act that was regularly having singles nearing the top of the charts. When “Redneck Woman” finally hit the airwaves in the spring of 2004, women hadn’t been so scarce on the country radio since the early sixties.

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Gretchen Wilson, “You Don’t Have to Go Home”

Good enough.  She sounds fully engaged, it’s up-tempo and rowdy without being in-your-face obnoxious, and every detail from this last call scene sounds authentic and believable.   It’s certainly more realistic than “All Jacked Up.”    I doubt it will fire up her career at radio again, but it’s good enough.  That’s about all I can say.

Grade: B

Listen: You Don’t Have to Go Home

Buy: You Don’t Have to Go Home

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Gretchen Wilson, One of the Boys

Gretchen Wilson
One of the Boys
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Gretchen Wilson continues her baffling descent from the promise of her debut album, Here For the Party. Its follow-up, All Jacked Up, suffered from overconfidence, a cocky attitude of entitlement based on a misreading of the popularity of “Redneck Woman.” There was a universality to that track, which had people from all background embracing the attitude of it, even if they couldn’t relate to the actual lifestyle. Wilson apparently thought that she’d stumbled on a nation of redneck women and she’d been chosen as their leader, so we had to suffer through more confrontational versions like the West-coast dissing “California Girls” and the drunk-driving, teeth-busting “All Jacked Up.”

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Gretchen Wilson, “One of the Boys”

Gretchen Wilson, “One of the Boys”

“Woo hoo hoo.” That’s a catchy little hook there. Wilson sounds more fully engaged in the material here, much more so than anything that was released off of the mediocre All Jacked Up project. There’s a sweet charm to this single, and it’s nice to hear her going for the soft sell instead of always raving it up. This could conceivably be an opener to a very interesting themed album about gender roles, but my guess is it’s just a simple, one-off number. I don’t know if this will be enough to entice radio back to her side – I still haven’t figured out exactly why they jumped ship so quickly in the first place – but it’s a pleasant enough release.

Grade: B

Listen: One of the Boys

More Gretchen Wilson:

Carrie Underwood Joins the Five Million Club

Best Country Singles of 2005

400 Best Contemporary Country Singles: #275-#251

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