Here for the party

A lot of singers are more than happy to release an album every two years, maybe once a year if they’re especially fastidious. But for Gretchen Wilson, that’s not good enough.

This year alone, she’s releasing three (her latest, Right on Time, dropped April 2) while embarking on a tour. This, mind you, is all in addition to her family life and charity work.

“It’s not how do you find the time to tour. It’s really how do you find the time to do everything else,” Wilson said. “This is one of those industries where being out on the road and your live shows are really what carries you through and keeps you working. It seems to work better for me and my group of people to keep touring all the time.”

Her tour makes its Oklahoma stop Thursday for a free outdoor concert at Newcastle Casino. Having recently parted ways with her major label and started her own, Redneck Records, she’s fully embraced the DIY outlaw ethic with which music critics have branded her.

“I never found it difficult to be an outlaw, because what is the definition of an outlaw, anyway? Somebody who does things their own way,” Wilson said. “That’s how I was brought up: to be completely hands-on. That’s just who I am, down to the core.”

She said concertgoers will see a newer, independent side of her that has something for everyone, from fans of country to “straight-up rock ’n’ roll.”

“I love playing Oklahoma,” she said. “Every time, I feel like I’m builtin. One of my favorite co-writers, Vicki McGehee, is from Oklahoma. A lot of the big hit songs I’ve had, we’ve written together. So whenever
I’m playing in Oklahoma, I always feel like I’m playing at Vicki’s
house.”

New material aside, Wilson purists should have no fear; even after all the chart success and awards, she remains — as her debut single from 2004’s debut album, Here for the Party, has it — a “Redneck Woman” at heart.

“I’ve still got my makeup on from yesterday. I’m running around in sweatpants,” she said. “I just fed the dogs, got the kid to school, went to the bank, went to the post office, came home and cleaned out a birdcage. I think I’m gonna mow the grass later and have a beer as soon as it gets warm enough outside. Does that sound pretty redneck to you?”

Louis Fowler

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