Story Behind the Song: Gretchen Wilson, ‘Rowdy’
Following a years-long hiatus, in late 2016, Gretchen Wilson released a brand-new single, "Rowdy." The uptempo song includes lines such as, "The whiskey's still brown, and Hank's still around / No, it ain't watered down in my world / This train's jumped track, you need some smoke in your stack / Well, hey, I'm your bring-it-back girl / I'm a whole lotta crazy, a little bit naughty / This redneck woman's always here for the party," a refreshing return to Wilson's unique sound.
Below, Wilson shares with The Boot the story behind "Rowdy."
I’d been writing for several months, but I knew that I needed that comeback song; I knew that I needed a song that was a statement, almost like an anthem. I feel like the temperature of country music right now is basically exactly where it was when I came out the first time around: Everybody was a little on the slicker side, a little more of a pop-country thing, and then I came out with "Redneck Woman." That’s why I wanted to lead with something like "Rowdy": I wanted to make the same footprint again.
I came up with the idea; I had about a verse and half of a chorus written, and I knew I had a songwriting session set up with Shane Minor and Trent Tomlinson, and I figured those were the guys that would help me craft it the rest of the way. They were right on board. When I walked in with my idea and played a little bit of it for them, they knew exactly where to go with it, so it turned out to be a great day. We started it, then I had to go to the hospital and pick up my boyfriend, who had had a little minor outpatient surgery … I dropped him off at home, went back, and we finished the song. [It] took about three hours total, even with the hospital run.
I knew the moment that I came up with the title, I knew that that was probably going to be the lead-off single. Lyrically, I know a lot of people who listen to my songs are like, "Another four-wheeling, beer-drinking song from the redneck." This has that in it, but it also makes a statement; it says a lot of things about where country music was before, who I am.
I feel like the pendulum swings in country music: Sometimes it’s on the slick side, and sometimes it’s on more of a traditional and country-rocking side. I just feel like it’s time for that pendulum to swing again. I wanted to write a lyric that would bring us back to that era and that time, reminiscent of "Here for the Party" and "All Jacked Up" and "Redneck Woman."
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