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Gretchen Wilson

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To all appearances, Gretchen Wilson went overnight from talented obscurity to phenomenon. Her meteoric rise, the kind experienced by only a handful of artists in the past few decades, was that...

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To all appearances, Gretchen Wilson went overnight from talented obscurity to phenomenon. Her meteoric rise, the kind experienced by only a handful of artists in the past few decades, was that rare instance where talent and moment meet to form a cultural tidal wave. Still, she knows better than anyone the simple force that fueled it.

Set as it was within the broader scope of the Muzik Mafia, a talented and audaciously original ensemble, and like-minded entertainers from Kid Rock to Hank Jr., her rise was part of a genuine musical and cultural groundswell. Her first single, "Redneck Woman," spent six weeks at #1; her debut album, Here For The Party, sold more than five million copies; she won across-the-board awards including a Grammy and ACM, CMA and AMA nods for best female vocalist; and she toured to large and raucous crowds around the world. Her second CD, All Jacked Up, rode enthusiastic reviews to platinum status as Gretchen's accomplishments continued to stack up.

Such is her cross-medium viability that her first book, the autobiographical "Redneck Woman: Stories from My Life," landed her on the prestigious New York Times Best Seller List. Now, with the release of her third album, One Of The Boys, Gretchen Wilson solidifies her position as one of contemporary country's most original and multi-faceted female artists, a woman in whom ambition and ability come together in every aspect of her career.

"I think sometimes that I haven't even found my purpose yet," she says. "I think sometimes this is a stepping stone and there's something greater still for me to do. I'm not sure what, yet, but a lot of it I think comes from this overwhelming sense that my grandma knew something I didn't know. I know what her purpose was now. She never even could find her natural parents, but her purpose was to make me who I am, because I didn't have anybody else who molded me. She was it, and I know I have a greater purpose than all of this too, and I have a feeling that somehow she'll be the one to tell me."