Friday, July 5, 2013 9:00 PM
To all appearances, Gretchen Wilson went overnight from talented obscurity to phenomenon. Her meteoric rise, the kind experienced by only a handful of artists in the past few decades, was that rare instance where talent and moment meet to form a cultural tidal wave.
It helps that the identity she wears so guilelessly is one that resonates strongly with fans of country and Southern rock--the independent, take-no-guff, hard-working and hard-partying country woman. Gretchen's ability to inhabit that persona publicly, as well as her flair for tailoring songs as gorgeously rough-edged as she is, have given her the kind of "I am what I sing" originality few women in country music history--Loretta, Tammy, Dolly and Tanya chief among them--have ever been able to achieve.