The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


July 16, 2009

Rocker mom: ‘Redneck Woman’ Gretchen Wilson works music career around daughter’s life

By Joe Hadsall

Every time Gretchen Wilson does it, her daughter gets mad.

As the Nashville singer/songwriter tours across America with her 8-year-old daughter, a Jonas Brothers song is bound to be played on the radio, or TV, or wherever. Wilson’s daughter, Grace, is a huge fan of the Disney-backed band.

When Wilson hears the brothers’ lilting, hiccuping voices, she imitates them — pretty well, actually — but Grace is never amused.

“She gives me the look of death,” Wilson said.

Wilson will be on stage tonight at Downstream Casino, performing her brand of traditional country with a Southern rock edge. She’ll play songs from her multi-platinum albums and a few from her upcoming album, “I Got Your Country Right Here,” which should be available before Christmas, she said.

Her concert will also likely include tributes to the generation of ’70s rock that influenced her songwriting. Wilson is as influenced by AC/DC and Lynyrd Skynyrd as she is by Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.

So much so that she is at home on stage with the likes of rock acts such as Heart and Alice in Chains. In 2007, she performed Heart’s “Barracuda” — a song that for female vocalists is what “Flight of the Bumblebee” is to string players — live with Alice in Chains for an MTV production.

As a child growing up in rural Illinois, she used to sneak into her uncle’s bedroom and listen to the rock records which she was not allowed to touch.

“I’d move the dresser in front of the door and lock myself in,” Wilson said. “He had Johnny Cash, Waylon, a big collection of traditional country music. But he also had AC/DC, Skynyrd and a lot of four-piece rock ’n’ roll. That’s really what shaped my music.”

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