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Best Local Act Gone National

Gretchen Wilson

Where's Pocahontas, Illinois? One answer is, "Thirty-odd miles south of St. Louis." Another answer -- and one you're more likely to hear these days -- is, "That's where Gretchen Wilson's from." The 31-year-old singer raced to the tippy-top of the country charts this past spring like a squirrel up an oak tree, powered by the raw jam "Redneck Woman." With lyrics like "And I keep my Christmas lights on on my front porch all year long/And I know all the words to every Charlie Daniels song," the song comes off like something between "I Am Woman" and a Jeff Foxworthy joke. It's white-trash empowerment in an age when most country is about as down-home as pommes frites and chicken-apple sausage. You might not know where Pocahontas is, but you know where Gretchen Wilson is coming from.

 
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