July 20, 2009 — Five years ago this week, Gretchen Wilson earned a double-platinum album for her debut CD, Here For The Party, helping to bring attention to the MuzikMafia in Nashville.
The Mafia was a loose conglomeration of artists, including Big & Rich and James Otto, that played regularly in Music City clubs when they couldn't get a foothold in Nashville's record labels. As a movement, it's drawn comparisons to the outlaws of the 1970s — particularly the album around which it coalesced, Wanted: The Outlaws. That package featured songs by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and Jessi Colter, who happened to be Waylon's wife. While Gretchen appreciates the comparison, it isn't exacting.
"Then I am the Jessi Colter of the [Mafia] bunch," she told The South Bend Tribune. "But I haven't married any of them yet!"
Gretchen's first hit, "Redneck Woman," cast her as a no-fril ls, no-nonsense female. It's an extremely different image than Carrie Underwood or Kellie Pickler possess, but it's one that's authentic.
"I don't think I am ever a girly-girl, but I definitely have my moments," Gretchen said. "I never wear pink. Never. I don't like to go shopping for clothes. Now, if you want to go to Home Depot or Lowe's and hang out all day, I can do that. I'll sit down and watch an episode of 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' and cry my eyes out while I am painting my toenails, so I can definitely be that kind of a girl, but I am not a girly-girl."
Gretchen's been working diligently on a new album. It's expected by the end of the year.