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Playing Well Is Only Pressure Gretchen Wilson Feels

Of the Oakland Press

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Country singer Gretchen Wilson acknowledges that she feels “the normal pressures that any performer feels.” Which means she may be feeling a bit of a cold wind blowing through her career right now.

The Illinois-born Wilson hit big in 2004 with the imagedefining hit “Redneck Woman” and a debut album, “Here for the Party,” that sold 4.6 million copies, snaring a Grammy and Country Music Association Award in the process. But 2005’s “All Jacked Up” sold just a quarter of that amount, and this year’s “One of the Boys” is hovering below 200,000 copies despite debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard country charts in July. But if the downward trend is disheartening, Wilson, 34, isn’t showing it. “The only pressure I ever really feel about the music is just being better every night than I was before,” she says. “I want the people to get the show they came to see. “I mean, I still get stage fright every night before I go on. I just feel like I’m gonna throw up right before I go on stage, but as soon as I get out there, I’m fine.” Wilson, who co-produced the album, is hoping her latest single — the title track to “One of the Boys” — will improve her fortunes. If nothing else, she says it should add a bit of flesh and perspective to the hard-bitten, barroom brawler image she’s cultivated over the past three years.

“I think a lot of people missed that whole (feminine) side of me to begin with,” explains Wilson, who duets on a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” for Heart singer Ann Wilson’s upcoming solo album, “Hope and Glory.” “It’s not that it wasn’t there, it’s just that it wasn’t being seen at all ’cause everybody was a lot more interested in the hell-raising side.

“So I think this song is kind of me saying, ‘I haven’t changed really.’ It’s a lot like the ‘Redneck Woman’ song is to me; I think it’s just another way of me being myself.”

Gretchen Wilson and Eric Church perform at the WYCD Birthday Bash at 7 p.m. Sunday (August 5th) at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road north of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $39.50 pavilion, $15 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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