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  • rebafan
    Gretchen Wilson Rolls the Redneck Dice By Tom Roland | Comments (3) Gretchen Wilson photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville. At the end of the month, Gretchen
    Message 1 of 12 , Mar 2, 2010
      Gretchen Wilson Rolls the Redneck Dice
      By Tom Roland | Comments (3)
      Gretchen Wilson photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

      At the end of the month, Gretchen Wilson will release a new album, and it's one that positions her as a major gambler in the high-risk business of country music.

      After three albums with a major label, I Got Your Country Right Here comes out through her own independent company, Redneck Records, as she wagers her own money on her ability to keep connecting with country fans.

      The label name is, of course, a direct reference to her first hit, "Redneck Woman." Friday marks five years since that single was released to radio, instantly making her a feisty phenomenon. But while she came out guns blazing, the success of her Here For The Party debut sagged with subsequent releases, and when a label merger brought new executives in to oversee her career, it made her recording career even more tenuous.

      Gretchen wanted to be released from her contract, but the label initially declined. She had an album ready for release, but the company wasn't convinced, and she ended up in limbo, completely depressed. Executives later decided they would indeed let her go, and it relaunched her redneck attitude.

      "My release from the label really just came out of nowhere," she told The Nashville Scene. "I kind of felt like I was about to hit the bottom and God reached down and put his hand on me and said, `All right. I can see how much you can take now. Let's give a little back.' It was a joyous day. I know a lot of people would be like, `You just got dropped!' But I already knew what I wanted and what I needed to do."

      That meant creating her own imprint. It also meant doing it in an all-or-nothing manner. Gretchen had offers to partner with an established label, which would take on the financial risk. Instead, she took out a mortgage on her property and developed Redneck Records. She clearly believes in herself. She's willing to do the work, and she's not letting any other company take the reins on her livelihood.

      "I'm a fighter," she said. "I've always struggled, and that's when I seem to do my best is when I'm under the gun, and so I'm not worried, although it's a little frightening. The record company is the most expensive thing I've done recently, so financially that's the biggest scare I've got going right now, not whether I can handle getting out there and doing 14 things a day."

      As with any other investor, Gretchen's taking her chances. But it's the best way she knows to play the cards she's been dealt.

      "If I win," she said, "I'll be able to dig my ass out of the hole. If I lose, I lose it all."

      I Got Your Country Right Here will be released March 30.
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