Gretchen Wilson took the country Music world by storm when she released her first single in 2004. “Redneck Woman” was an immediate hit and climbed to the top of the Billboard charts, quickly skyrocketing Wilson to Country Music fame. Her album, “Here for the Party” also soared on the charts. Gretchen was finally living her dream of being a country star.

Gretchen Wilson came from a small town

Wilson grew up in a small town in Illinois. Her life wasn’t always that of fame and fortune. She was born when her mother was just 16-years-old and they struggled for everything they had. Wilson always loved music and would sing with local bands anytime she got the chance.

She also tended bar in a small local hang out, called Big O’s at a very young age.

She dreamed of one day going to Nashville and turning her singing into a full-time recording career. In 1996,  Wilson said goodbye to Pocahontas and moved to Nashville. Success didn’t come over night. She spent the next 4 years tending bar, singing and auditioning.

Music Mafia heard Gretchen Wilson sing

Big and Rich are known to be a part of The Music Mafia. The pair happened to hear Gretchen singing in a bar and decided she needed to be a part of their group. Suddenly, Gretchen had a record deal and her life as a country music artist took off. But Wilson never forgot her small-town roots, or how she grew up. The small town of Pocahontas even has a sign at the city limits declaring “Pocahontas Proud” and has renamed a park in Wilson’s honor.

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Pocahontas locals are Wilson’s biggest fans

Blasting News spoke with one of Gretchen Wilson’s biggest fans, who still resides in her hometown. Judy Weiss of Pocahontas told us that she and her husband first heard Gretchen in a local bar. Weiss immediately fell in love with her voice and has been a follower ever since.

Weiss and her husband have even traveled to hear Gretchen Wilson perform. They travelled to Nashville, Indianapolis and attended her 10-year anniversary performance. They have also been to several fan parties and have a large collection of autographed CDs and T-shirts. They even have the book Wilson wrote titled “Redneck Woman."

Gretchen Wilson has returned to her hometown many times. She attended the ceremony to dedicate the park in her honor and she recently returned this past summer. Pocahontas holds a picnic every year to support its local fire department. There is a fish fry, bingo, a parade and games for the kids. Local bands also play.

This past summer, a local band that Wilson used to sing with was playing.

Imagine the surprise of the audience when a car rolled up and Gretchen Wilson stepped out and took the stage! She sang a couple of songs and then strolled through the crowd, stopping to talk and take pictures with Pocahontas fans. Judy Weiss was thrilled to see her and states, “We will continue to follow Gretchen and can’t wait to hear her new song!”

Blasting News also spoke with the Mayor of Pocahontas, IL. Mayor Karen Heilig is also a huge fan and tells us, “Gretchen has made Pocahontas Proud. She comes back and visits when we least expect her. I am proud of her for putting her family first and her talent and music second. She keeps in touch with old friends while making new ones along the way. In the next chapter of her life, I wish her the very best of things to come.”

Where has Gretchen Wilson been?

She took a couple years off to spend time with her daughter Grace, who will soon be graduating high school. While she was enjoying spending lots of mom time with her daughter, she was also spending some time writing new songs and helping other new artists get a start.

Wilson has now gone back into the studio and “Rowdy” is due to be released today. An album will soon follow. She is also planning to go back on tour and will be touring again as early as 2017. How about you? Are you a fan of the “Red Neck Woman," Gretchen Wilson? Are you excited that she is finally coming out with a new single?