Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gretchen Wilson, "I Got Your Country Right Here"

Hooray for Gretchen Wilson!  She has parted ways with Columbia Nashville!  She is now recording on her own label - Redneck Records!  What a perfect opportunity to take advantage of her new creative freedom, and to deliver the best country music Nashville has heard in years!... Or she could just continue with the usual radio butt-kissing.

It's disheartening to see this talented artist continually painting herself into the "Redneck Woman" corner.  Ever since radio began pushing her aside, it seems she has been bent on duplicating the success of her debut smash.  It would be far more effective if she were to recapture the fun and lighthearted spirit of "Redneck Woman," instead of constantly recycling the same theme, and producing one inferior rehash after another.  If you were to take "Redneck Woman" and strip it of all the fun and cleverness, you would have her new single "I Got Your Country Right Here."

That made a killer album title, but it makes an awfully flimsy single.  It seems Gretchen and her writers have only one goal in releasing this song:  to elicit another big "Hell, yeah!" from all the redneck girls like her.  I would be wasting my breath to try to explain the lyrics.  For three aching minutes she just namechecks several legendary country singers and classic songs, throws in  references Skynyrd and ZZ Top, and then declares "I Got Your Country Right Here"!  The name-dropping trend was already getting to be severely irritating, but now we hear an entire song clumsily crafted around it.  While "Work Hard, Play Harder" had the catchy factor on its side, the clunky production of "I Got Your Country Right Here" fails to polish the lackluster lyric.

This is especially disappointing when you consider that Gretchen no longer has the restrictions that come with a major-label recording contract, so she could very well be giving us something better than this cheap radio fluff.  But if this is the kind of country that Gretchen's got, then she can just keep it.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)