Gretchen’s ability to inhabit that persona publicly, as well as her flair for tailoring songs as gorgeously rough-edged as she is, have given her the kind of ‘I am what I sing’ originality few women in country music history–Loretta, Tammy, Dolly and Tanya chief among them–have ever been able to achieve. Her first single, ‘Redneck Woman,’ spent six weeks at #1; her debut album, Here For The Party, sold more than five million copies; she won across-the-board awards including a Grammy and ACM, CMA and AMA nods for best female vocalist; and she toured to large and raucous crowds around the world.
Her second CD, All Jacked Up, rode enthusiastic reviews to platinum status as Gretchen’s accomplishments continued to stack up. Her third, One of the Boys, solidified her position as one of contemporary country’s most original and multi-faceted female artists, a woman in whom ambition and ability come together in every aspect of her career. Such is her cross-medium viability that her first book, the autobiographical Redneck Woman: Stories from My Life, landed her on the prestigious New York Times Best Seller List.
She recently traveled to Washington, DC to accept a 2009 National Coalition for Literacy Leadership Award at a reception at the Library of Congress, which recognizes individuals and/or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to improving literacy and raising awareness of adult literacy in the United States.
Following Gretchen’s touching acceptance speech, Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) was brought to the stage to deliver a statement she had prepared and read that morning in front of the 110th Congress honoring the accomplishments of Gretchen Wilson as a mother, recording artist, and a leader in the advancement of adult education and literacy. And the latest chapter in her life is just beginning to be written. After much soul-searching, prayer and consultation, Gretchen left her original label home in July 2009 and launched her own label Redneck Records two months later. She co-wrote her first single release, Work Hard, Play Harder, with Vicky McGehee and John Rich, and it is reminiscent of the music that brought her to the dance. Her first album, I Got Your Country Right Here, hit stores in March 2010 and debuted at #6 on the album chart. Gretchen produced the album with John Rich and Blake Chancey, and she co-wrote two songs on the new disc.