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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

'I Got Your Country Right Here' is Long on Attitude But Short on Substance

The new Gretchen Wilson CD is pretty much what you’d expect from the “Redneck Woman”-- songs about drinking, cheating, bar brawls and loving America, with lots of name-dropping like Waylon and Skynyrd. Her first CD made those topics fun with her uniquely female (but maybe not really feminine) perspective. This latest set of songs offer nothing new and made me long for the originality and gutsiness of her first hits.

“I Got Your Country Right Here” might have been more appropriately named, “Been There, Sung That.”

Wilson’s music has always been more about attitude than melodies, and her voice is fine for the party songs she built her career on. But here she mostly bellows and bitches instead of sings, particularly when lamenting the loss of “real country” music in “Outlaws and Renegades” and the title track, or the John Rich-like working man’s protest song “Blue Collar Done Turn Red.”

Musically, I had a hard time telling several of the songs apart. Nothing stands out. No exceptional fiddle, impressive steel track, interesting piano. The only distinguishing difference is that some are fast and some are slow. Not a single track makes me perk up my ears to hear an impressive or memorable piece of music.

The only songs I found at all interesting were “The Earrings Song,” which is a classic Gretchen Wilson girl-fight rant that doesn’t sound too much like a re-trend; and the closing ballad, “I'd Love To Be Your Last,” which features surprising sweet and gentle vocals. Neither are outstanding or even slightly original, but on a CD this mediocre, they stand out like a high class broad at a redneck barbeque.

While I’m not a big fan of the pop turn country radio has taken as of late, if this is the only alternative, I’ll listen to The Band Perry or Danny Gokey any day. Or maybe I’ll pull out something by one of the “Outlaws and Renegades” Gretchen Wilson loves to name drop, but doesn’t hold a candle to.

Vicky Dobbin is senior music reviewer for Today’s Best Country Music Videos. Follow her at http://Twitter.com/vdobbin and read her country music blog at www.LoveMyCountryMusic.com.

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