Gretchen Wilson

Gretchen Wilson Biography

Gretchen gives the inside story behind the songs on her new album, All Jacked Up.

”ALL JACKED UP”: "The sound is a cross between ZZ Top and CDB. It starts with the licks of ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ and ends with ‘The South's Gonna Do It Again.’ And then there's some other stuff in the middle. It's bookended with Charlie licks ... I've gotten to know him. [They're both Wilson County residents, Charlie outside Mt. Juliet and Gretchen outside Lebanon.] The first day I met him, he gave me a hug and said, ‘Welcome to Wilson County.’ He said, 'I know everyone out there. I know all the good ones and all the bad ones. If you have any questions, call me.'“... "I don't know how (fans) will react. I hope they'll love it. I love it enough to make it the title track and make it the first single and to be preparing for a video on it. I think it's funny, and I think it is going to bring people exactly back to that. They're going to think Charlie Daniels. They're going to think ZZ Top. They're going to think good ole rockin' American country music hopefully, and they'll dig it. The video's gonna be a monster. (Deaton-Flanigen is producing. But I wrote the script again. I wrote it for Redneck Woman, too. I just kind of go in there and pop open a beer and say, 'Now here we go, boys. This is it (laughs).' And when I told them I wanted to drive a truck through the barroom wall they just about s---. they said, 'Oh, my God. That's really gonna drive the price up.' And I said, ‘Are you kidding me? That's one trip to Home Depot and a piece of drywall.'

CALIFORNIA GIRLS: "Now this song we wrote in about 10 minutes. (laughs) I know that sounds insane. (Laughter continues). We were mixing the first record, so before the record was even finished, we were waiting for Joe Scaife, the co-producer of the first record, to show up at the studio. And we sat in the control room and John (Rich) said, 'I've got this idea this ... you remember that Beach Boys song about California girls and how I wish they all could be California girls? He said, 'Everybody's kind of out of that trend now. Everybody's sick of that. Women just want to be real and be themselves. If there's ever been a woman who preaches that to the fullest it's you. ... And everything else you say on this record, just be proud of who you are, and be themselves. You know, we should write a comedy like, 'Ain't you glad they are NOT all California girls?' I thought it'd be a cute idea, and, he ... John's one of those kind of guys, he just gets so excited about a song, and he'll just start going in to it and he'll rhyme a couple of lines, and then he'll just kind of look over at whomever else is in the room writing with him, and you'll contribute the next two lines that rhyme and before you know it you've got a song ... Paris (Hilton) was the one person that John and I both thought of at the same time. John said, 'We need to pick that one person you don't want your daughter to be like when she grows up.' That's harsh, isn't it? But that's what I said, I said, ‘I don't want her to grow up to be like Paris Hilton.' ... I don't know her. I do know that John and I looked at each other and I said, 'Can we do that?' Is it OK to do that?' And John said, 'Everybody else in the free world is making fun of her. I don't think she's gonna care if you do.' But, I would love to meet her some day. And tell her it wasn't any offense, and hope it didn't make her mad, and then I'm gonna ask her to be in the video (laughs heartily). Can you imagine me and Paris Hilton mud-wrestling in the video for California Girls? That'd be great!"

FULL TIME JOB. "Definitely when I write, I like to write about more empowering things. Like Full Time Job. That's a song about being the hardest-working person in the world and I'm a stay-at-home mom. To recognize that this is a full-time job right here. That's kinda what that song is all about. Which ... I stayed home a lot when I was pregnant, and Mike worked, and then toward the end of my pregnancy is when my demo work finally started to pick up, and we kind of switched roles. He became a stay-at-home daddy, and I went out and started workin'. But spent a few months barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen and doin' nothin' but laundry, never goin' out, never goin' nowhere. And really started feeling like, God ... I'm worth something. I just need to put some makeup on and get out of the house.' ... I tell you what, I'm a full believer in one parent staying home, if you can do it. I think too many kids are being brought up in daycares and stuff like that. I certainly don't wanna try to be a part of a social movement or anything, but .. I couldn't do it myself."

SKOAL RING: "I had John and Vicky out and my boyfriend cooked a big pasta dinner, cracked a bottle of wine and sat write here and wrote Skoal Ring before dinner, and stopped and ate a little dinner and came back here and knocked out ‘All Jacked Up’ and called it a day. Which, to be honest with you, is the pattern we've gotten into. I guess just because we're such good friends, we know each other so well -- we did the same thing yesterday ... I tell you what, one of the funniest things that happened on Skoal Ring, when we were writing it I'd never seen John Rich laugh as hard as he laughed while we were writing it. We were sitting there writing a song about tobacco, first of all, about Skoal, so I just loved it immediately because it sounded so Loretta. It sounded so old and real and to the point and country to the bone, you know? And of course, it should, like I said, we're singing about Skoal. When we got to the second verse and we're trying to figure out ... we came up with I've always been a Bandit Girl and he's a Long Cut Man. And we got stuck there for awhile, and I remember that for the next 15 or 20 minutes we just sat there and tried to figure out what the next line was. I remember saying something about, 'I'm Bandit Girl, he's Long Cut Man, those are so ... different. The idea is that we still get along even though we have different-colored cans. When I said that, John almost fell out of his chair backwards. I said, ‘What's so funny about that?' And he said, 'Gretchen, that is so truly you to think that we could be so different because we chew different flavors of Skoal. That's the most redneck thing I've ever heard in my life.' But we've gotta use it because that's true. That's really the way you feel. That's how you think.' So we did." ... "Yes, I use Skoal. But I'm berry blend, pouches, so it's not loose in my mouth. It's more of a girly flavor, I guess. So I guess I can be feminine!" (laughs)

HE AIN'T EVEN COLD YET. "That was one that, you know, when you're an artist and getting ready to make records a lot of people come and pitch you songs. I listened to a lot. Anything that gets personally handed to me, I listen to. I don't just look at the publishing company or the songwriters. I listen to it. Because you never know when you're gonna strike gold. I'm just so glad we found these songs that sound so old. Because I don't think these songs are being written today."

ONE BUD WISER: "Now this one I didn't write. This one was John and Vicky. (Mock sobs) They write a lot of songs without me, and I wish they wouldn't. (busts out laughing). I tell you what, though. She and John come up with those titles. It was probably John's title: One Bud Wiser. And on the first record Vicky's was, When It Rains, I Pour. She had that one. It's just mind-boggling that no one has written it before. Songwriters just rack their brains trying to find that catch phrase ... How those two have never been written. I just don't get it."

POLITICALLY UNCORRECT. "Merle (Haggard) sang on it. That's a song that's been floating around Nashville for 10 years, and no one has ever cut it. I heard it and have had it on hold since the last record. It was written by the same woman who wrote ‘Chariot,’ Leslie Satcher. What I love about this song is that I when listened to it the first time, I got the sense that, that is just like the perfect political stance, as far as any musical artist. We don't wanna talk about politics. We never want to get involved in that whole thing. I kinda follow Montgomery-Gentry's lead on that, they've got the greatest answer. 'What the hell are you asking me that for? I'm a country singer.' That's what I say. (laughs). But, for a political song, when you finish listening to that song, you get the sense that this girl is just for everything. And that's just what's so cool about it. I'm for everything. I guess that means I'm politically uncorrect. I'm for everything. That's what I love about it. I think it's funny. Merle's twisted the lyric around a little bit, his pieces, to suit him a little better. I can tell you the day I hear it on the radio, that's going to be one of the highest points of my life, I'm tellin' ya. It's un-believable, just the feeling that overcomes me as soon as his vocal kicks in on that, it's like 'Oh, my God, I can't believe that's him.' "

I DON'T FEEL LIKE LOVING YOU TODAY. (Written by Matraca Berg and Jim Collins). "My daughter rode with us over to the boot store, Off-Broadway just off the Row. We were tracking that day, and when we got back we recorded it almost immediately. We got the tape and the next day I listened to it. It went from John Rich's hands to my hands. I said, hey John, have you had a chance to listen that song, the one from Matraca, and he said, no, and I said, 'well then, hey, give it to me. I'm going to the boot store, and I'll listen to it on the way.' My daughter, as soon as it was over, said, 'I love that song, Mommy.' She never says anything like that. And I thought, 'And so do I.' It's a great song. It's so real. It's a little different than stuff I usually like. It's such a real mood and a real moment. I think it's one of those songs that every woman in the world will be able to relate to and just feel ... close to and feel like they've been there, or maybe they haven't been through it themselves but just know someone who has. It's a moving, moving song. My favorite line in that song is 'I've got 16 hours left to go.' That's the one that just, wheew. Ya know? It's another dark song. But it's very real ... 'I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today was just written. It was hot from the writing table to the studio, but that's few and far between that you find a song that sounds that old. It reminds me of Emmylou. (Harris). It's my favorite song on the record. It's the only song so far that John and I are singing harmony on, and I love the blend on that. It sounds so Emmylou to me.' "

REBEL CHILD. "That day we sat down, we wanted to write a Linda Ronstadt feelin'. And I remember saying that I just always thought ‘Rebel Child’ was just a cool-sounding title. It was one of those things outside of my usual writing circles that just worked out. it was just a good writing day. And I had written quite a few times with Wade, so I felt real comfortable with him, and I tried to get that Ronstadt groove in there every chance I got while we were writing it. The players are key. Not only do you have to be consistent in your songwriting and your lyric and everything, you have to be consistent in your sound in the studio, too. You gotta find the right guys that make that sound that makes your records sound like you. We varied a little bit from the first record to this one because I didn't have anything to do with the selection (of the players) on the first record. This time, I did."

RAINING ON ME: "That's another one we cut on that first session a long time ago. Me and John and Vicky. First song that the three of us as a threesome wrote together." (Why not recorded for the first album.) "We got to the point with the first record that we just had the record. We could have gone in and recorded five or six or seven more tunes, but I think it would have been a waste of the label's money, a waste of my money. We could have done the same thing with California Girls. I'm already in the same place with this record. I think the key is not waiting until the last minute, staying a step ahead of everything has really kept me from just getting really stressed on time and constrictions. On that first record, we really didn't have a whole lot of time. This one we started recording in December. And I knew I had til fall of the next year. I was leaving myself plenty of time because I knew it was going to be a crazy year. I knew my time in Nashville was going to be limited. I knew I was going to be making this record a day here and a day here and a day here. So I wanted to go in and get the bulk of some stuff done while I had a month off. So my off time wasn't really off, because I was in the studio. But I'm sitting here not worried about this record because of that. I know we've got it. We've got more than we need, I think. Once we go in and cut for more we'll have songs we won't know what to do with."

NOT BAD FOR A BARTENDER. (Co-write with John Rich and Vicki McGehee). "That was a last-minute kind of a deal there. We wrote that at John's house. .. John's been saying that phrase to me pretty much since ‘Redneck Woman’ hit the air. He's been looking at me every once in awhile in certain situations -- we'll be at an ASCAP dinner, or different situations, and John will say, 'Let me look: Not bad for a bartender!' We've known we were going to write this song for a long time. That's just what happens with us. It's that idea. Once the idea is there, you let it float around in your head for a few months, and you're just going to explore it, as a creative person, you're going to explore all the different scenarios that could go along with it, what angle to take ... You know, though, when we sat down to write it that day, he said, 'This is your Hag song. This is your blue collar, old-fashioned song -- to me it's the opposite of How Do You Like Me Now -- it's not that kind of a song at all. It's similar in direction, but it's more old-school than that. It's more patting yourself on the back and saying, hey, look what I've done.' I thought it was a great way to finish up the record. It's the ‘Pocahontas Proud’ of this record. And it's very simple, a very simple way to look at this. And it is simple. It's good to be simple in a song. I'm blown away every day that all of those people stand and wait in meet 'n' greet lines. I know I say, in the song, 'I can't believe how they wait in my autograph line', but it is .. I feel that way. It's simple, but it's real. We've done so much in the last year and a half, but the reality is that I'm still sitting here going, 'Wow!' I really do. I'm amazed. I get to go out there and do something I love and get paid for it and people love it. It's just amazing. Every day is amazing for us."

GOOD MORNING, HEARTACHE. (Hidden track). "When John Grady brought to me the idea of putting one of those (Billie Holiday) songs on the record, I immediately said that it had to be unlisted, it had to be a silent, hidden track on there. I said it doesn't fit the flow of the record. It's a whole different ball of wax. It's a cover song. It's just ... a bonus for fans at the end of the record. I discovered Billie Holiday in a movie I watched a long time ago when I was a little kid, about a couple falling in love, and they shared a dance to a Billie Holiday tune. And I remember it being so moving. It blew my mind, the passion and the sorrow in her voice. I don't think I went out and bought her music for a few more years after that. But it was that sound. Every time I would hear that sound, I would know who it was. I tell you what, I certainly don't regret recording this song. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life, to go in a room and crowd around one microphone, and do it in one take like that. And listening back to it and hearing the room noise .. it sounds old because that's the way they recorded then. To know there's no mixing. You don't mix that. It's done. As soon as the bow stops sliding across that fiddle, it's just over. There's nothing we can do to that song. It just is what it is ... We did three performances on it. The first one they got levels on, and they'd holler over the thing, take one step forward and one step back, blah-blah-blah. The second one was perfect, except for a door closed, and we could hear it and it ruined the track. That take we got is the third take. And I think the second one was the better one, but that's how it goes when you're recording something like that."

Gretchen Wilson Bio from Discogs

Birth Date: June 26, 1973

She is a Grammy Award-winning country music singer.

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