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- The Real Story Behind Gretchen Wilson’s “RedNeck Woman”
The Real Story Behind Gretchen Wilson’s “RedNeck Woman”
In our continuing weekly series of the greatest country songs ever written, we delve into the background of “Redneck Woman.” Follow us so you never miss a story.
Gretchen Wilson is a country music singer and songwriter who rose to fame with her debut single “Redneck Woman” in 2004. The song, which celebrates the lifestyle and attitude of rural women, became a huge hit and earned Wilson a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
But what inspired Wilson to write such a catchy and controversial song? According to Wilson, the song was born out of a real-life experience that made her feel out of place and proud of her roots at the same time.
Wilson told Billboard that she was on a press tour in New York City with fellow country singer John Rich, who was also her producer and co-writer. They were invited to a fancy party at a hotel, where they felt like they didn’t belong.
“We walked in, and I just felt so completely out of my element,” Wilson recalled. “There were all these women that were dressed to the nines, and they had their little dogs with them, and they had their noses stuck up in the air. And I just looked at John and said, ‘This is not me. I’m not this kind of woman.'”
Wilson said that Rich encouraged her to embrace her identity and write a song about it. They went back to their hotel room and started working on the lyrics, using Wilson’s own experiences and observations as a source of inspiration.
“I just started telling him stories about my life,” Wilson said. “I told him about how I grew up in a trailer park, and how I used to run around barefoot, and how I loved to go fishing and hunting. And he just started writing down everything I said.”
The result was “Redneck Woman”, a song that celebrates the simple pleasures of rural life, such as drinking beer, driving trucks, listening to country music, and being loyal to one’s friends and family. The song also challenges the stereotypes and prejudices that some people have about rednecks, such as being uneducated, poor, or trashy.
Wilson said that she wanted to write a song that would resonate with women like her, who are proud of who they are and where they come from.
“I wanted to write a song for all those women out there who work hard, who raise their kids, who don’t have a lot of money, but they still have a good time,” Wilson said. “I wanted to write a song for all those women who don’t care what anybody else thinks about them.”
“Redneck Woman” became an anthem for millions of fans who identified with Wilson’s message of self-confidence and authenticity. The song topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for five weeks and reached number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also helped Wilson sell over six million copies of her debut album Here for the Party, which was certified five times platinum by the RIAA.
Wilson said that she was overwhelmed by the success of the song and the impact it had on her career and her fans.
“It was amazing to see how many people related to that song,” Wilson said. “It was like I had touched a nerve or something. It was like I had given them permission to be themselves.”
Wilson said that she still loves performing “Redneck Woman” live and seeing the reaction of the crowd.
“It’s always the highlight of my show,” Wilson said. “It’s always the song that gets everybody on their feet and singing along. It’s always the song that makes me feel like I’m doing something right.”