Niagara Gazette

February 7, 2013

Gretchen Wilson ready to rock the casino

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — This weekend there is only one show in town — country singer Gretchen Wilson — who returns to the area to perform Saturday at the Seneca Niagara Casino. She last performed at the casino on Feb. 11, 2011, that show sold out. Wilson also performed at the Lockport Canal Concert series in the summer of 2010; she was the last country music headliner at the series, although Wilson’s style has moved closer toward classic rock over the years.

Wilson has ambitious plans for 2013, after three years without releasing any new music, Wilson plans to release three albums this year, including a new studio effort entitled “Right on Time,” due April 2. The other two albums include Wilson’s interpretation of classic rock songs entitled “Under the Covers,” out on May 28, and her first Christmas album which does not have an official release date, but will certainly be released around the holidays.

Wilson’s major label debut, “Here for the Party,” debuted in 2004 and contained the massive hit “Redneck Woman.” The song won Wilson her only Grammy that same year in the Best Country Female Vocal Performance category. She has been nominated for a Grammy ten times.

To date Wilson has released four studio albums, three on a major label and one on her own label, Redneck Records. Her first independent release “I Got Your Country Right Here,” included the hit single “Work Hard, Play Harder,” a song that provoked a lawsuit from The Black Crowes who claimed it infringed the copyright of their song “Jealous Again.” I’m not a legal expert, but I don’t think it’s that similar.

In advance of her new album, Wilson has released two singles “One Good Friend” last year and “Still Rollin’,” just last week. “One Good Friend” is a wonderful ballad that failed to chart. In parts of the song, “Still Rollin’” reminds of Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind.” It’s probably not close enough to draw another lawsuit.

I’ve seen Wilson twice, at the aforementioned concert in Lockport and the last show at the casino, and she puts on a high energy show. One of the highlights of her previous shows was when her band played a long classic rock medley that included snippets of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC and Nirvana.

The casino show is significant because it is Wilson’s only tour stop in February. Last year she toured with 3 Doors Down, who are performing in Rochester with Daughtry the same night Wilson is at the casino, and ZZ Top.

On a personal level, Gretchen Wilson is an artist that I will remember best for ruining my perfect streak of headliner interviews for the Lockport Canal Series in 2010. That year I landed interviews with all the headliners, including a rare interview with a member of Tears for Fears. I have again since 2010, but had no luck again ( I heard that someone from our sister paper The Tonawanda News was able interview her).

Tickets for Saturday’s Gretchen Wilson show at the Seneca Niagara Casino Showroom start at $41.50 and are available through Ticketmaster or at the casino box office if available.

Next week’s column will feature an exclusive interview with American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, who is coming to the Rapids Theatre.

Thom Jennings covers the music and concert scene for Night & Day.