Five years ago, Gretchen Wilson came out guns blazing with her smash debut hit, 'Redneck Woman.' She was an instant phenomenon, and her debut album, 'Here for the Party,' was multi-platinum-selling smash. But Gretchen's career would begin to sag after the release of her third album and following a label merger, when new record execs were brought in to oversee her career. Though Gretchen had a fourth album ready to go, those new label execs were apparently unhappy with the new music ... and Gretchen found herself in that most dreaded of all places -- limbo.

Gretchen asked to be released from her contract with Columbia Nashville, but they declined, and she found herself sinking into a state of depression. But the label powers-that-be eventually changed their minds, which was both a shock and a life-saving breath of fresh air for Gretchen.

"My release from the label came out of nowhere," Gretchen tells The Nashville Scene. "I felt like I was about to hit the bottom and God reached down and put his hand on me and said, 'Alright, 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."

And that was create her own record label.

Though she had offers to partner with another major label offering financial security, Gretchen -- true to her all-or-nothing-at-all nature -- decided to take out a mortgage on her property, and launch her own imprint, Redneck Records.

"I'm a fighter," she says. "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 fourteen things a day!"

Gretchen will release her album, 'I Got Your Country Right Here,' on her own label, March 30. She's taking her chances in a high-risk business ... but true to her tough nature, she welcomes the odds.

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