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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gretchen Wilson will perform at Chautauqua Institution on Aug. 20 at 8:15 p.m.

On the title song of her new album -- notice it's on her own new label, Redneck Records -- Gretchen Wilson gives you her idea of what country is, and it includes the Allman Brothers, Hank Williams Jr., ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

So, she's still a redneck woman and she still likes to rock -- no surprise there.

"I Got Your Country Right Here" has its cliched moments -- the "red-blooded, blue-collar" hero of "Truckin' Man," the lament for the passing of "Outlaws and Renegades" in country music.

And Wilson takes the tough-chick bravado a little too far with "Walk on Water," which, unless our irony detector is on the fritz -- not that she's big on irony -- seems to defend drunken driving.

For the most part, though, Wilson steers clear of caricature. For one thing, with numbers such as "I Got Your Country ..." and the anthemic "Work Hard, Play Harder," she remains a convincingly hard-edge country-rocker (while "Earring Song" adds a dash of Loretta Lynn-like feistiness).

For another, she effectively balances that brashness with the ballads "I'm Only Human" and "I'd Love to Be Your Last," which reveal a more tender and vulnerable side.

Wilson will perform at Chautauqua Institution on Aug. 20 at 8:15 p.m.

-- Nick Cristiano,

Philadelphia Inquirer

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