Gretchen Wilson Ready to Get Rowdy * CD

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Gretchen Wilson Ready to Get Rowdy * CD. Photographer: Angelea Presti.
The very title of Ready to Get Rowdy, the 2017 album from Gretchen Wilson, feels like an acknowledgment that it's time for the country singer to get back to her redneck roots. It's not like Wilson has ever run away from the raunchy country that turned her into a sensation in 2004, but she did take things easy after releasing a pair of albums in 2013, choosing to concentrate on raising her daughter. Ready to Get Rowdy teems with the vigor of a musician who is excited to get back into the game, built on songs designed as reminders of the past while hinting at new beginnings. Of these two paths, the latter is a bit more exciting. "Summertime Town" sparkles with a breezy sensibility that recalls, of all things, '80s jangle pop, "Letting Go of Hanging On" rides a sweet adult pop undercurrent, and "Bad Feeling," her duet with Kid Rock, is a good slice of unabashed classic soul. These songs feel more resonant than "Rowdy," an overly transparent attempt to revive the spirit of "Redneck Woman," but some of the leaner, meaner cuts pack a punch: "I Ain't That Desperate Yet" kicks against its fleet, twanging beat and "A Little Loretta" is a spirited tribute to the great Loretta Lynn. Taken altogether, it may not add up to a defiant comeback, but it's a solid, reliably entertaining record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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