Gretchen Wilson Sets the ‘Bar’ High With Hank Jr.
Gretchen Wilson has had some remarkable memories throughout her career, including her first No. 1 song, her CMA Award win for Top Female Vocalist and some cool collaborations with Hank Williams Jr., Kid Rock and Heart. What means just as much to the Redneck Woman are the special, unexpected moments she has experienced with some of her heroes.
“I remember Hank [Williams, Jr.] coming over one time completely unexpected, and he brought me presents in the back of a pickup truck,” Gretchen tells The Boot. “He had somebody drive him out to my farm. I heard from him 15 minutes before he got there. He texted me and all I got was, ‘You got a cigar cutter?’ [laughs] And I knew I had better drop everything else I have for the rest of the day because it’s going to be a long one. He comes pulling in, and he brought me four items — two and two. [There were] two bar stools from his daddy. He told me, ‘Everybody from Jerry Lee Lewis and my daddy’s ass has been in these chairs, and I wanted to find them a good home. I want you to have them for your bar.’ And he brought me two table lamps from his mama. That’s cool. He didn’t bring me a gold record or, ‘Hey, listen to this song. I put your name in it.’ I know all that. He doesn’t have to tell me that. He brought me something that meant something to him and his family and his heritage, and he brought it to somebody that he knew was going to take care of it, is going to treasure it, talk about it, that would say, ‘How cool is that?’ That’s a moment.”
Another moment Gretchen recalls was yet another phone call from out of the blue. “I remember standing in my kitchen one morning after dropping [my daughter] Grace off to school and my phone rang and it was Merle Haggard,” she says. “I almost fell to the floor right there with dish soap on my hands [laughs] … just the idea that I answered my phone and it was Merle Haggard on the other end. It just astonished me, and it still blows my mind to this day. Little things like that.”
Gretchen has also been asked to perform at many charitable events, but one of them sticks out quite clearly in her mind. “Getting asked a month out to come and do Farm Aid with Willie [Nelson], and having him invite me on his bus right before my show and just to tell me how much he appreciated me doing something on such short notice, and that if I ever needed him to be there for him for me in a charity situation, something that I believe in and something that we’re struggling with as a country, that he would be right there for me. It’s little things like that that stick out to me the most.”
Probably the best and sweetest moments for Gretchen involve her daughter. “It’s not winning a Grammy,” she confides. “It’s the day that I moved into my first home that I ever bought and Charlie [Daniels] and [his wife] Hazel having a little red wagon, a Radio Flyer, delivered to my back door filled with presents for my daughter and a little note that said, ‘Welcome to Wilson County.’ It’s the school that my daughter goes to and how the parents there don’t treat me like a superstar. I’m just a mom there. I’m just like anybody else. I bring my sleeping bag and I go to 4H camp, and I hang out with all of them. I’m no different than the next mom right next to me. It’s the idea that I’m actually able to be a career woman and just be a regular person and people let me, that’s the coolest thing.”
Gretchen has hit the country airwaves her with her new single, the title track of her album ‘I’ve Got Your Country Right Here.’