The Freelance Mentalists.
Thursday, May 06, 2004
 
*Special Guest Mentalist: Don Allred*


Author's Warning! The following piece is so corny that it may prove upsetting
to some sensibilities. Think of it as dinner music for people who aren't very
hungry, a car tape for White Castle, a bumper sticker for the blind. With
that in mind, please proceed. (Or not.)(Be cautious, either way.)
Gretchen Wilson: HERE FOR THE PARTY (Sony Nashville)
Gretchen W., 15, of Pocahontas, Illinois, has finally tiptoed through
the Pearly Gates. Now she finds her ancestor, (could he be, [considering that
splaying slide guitar, that pouncing Bo Diddley beat, that banjo, for that
matter] say, Kunta Kinte? No, "a full-blooded Cher-oh-kee," natch) and
they "paint
a big gold eagle" on a sweet chariot, and go drag-racing across Heaven,
peeling glossses from Michael Martin Murphy's "Geronimo's Cadillac," Dixie
Chicks'
"Sin Wagon," and various ballads about giving a Stranger a ride. (Who's
zoomin' who? Distorted keywords keep luring me through "Chariot's" middle
[rap!]
patch.) Could be a mess, but Young'un never fires all of her guns at once, *the
better to * explode into space.

Gretchen Wilson, 30-ish, of Nashville, Tennessee, seconds that motion,
especially on the title track of her debut album, HERE FOR THE PARTY. She
makes her way down the bar, having worked all week, and now she's got a level mind
to "get some." No, not "get some" daringly cute li'l twists
on the phrase, a
la Toby Keith: no "babies," (she's got one, thank you) nor even "money,"
no,
in sum: (blood sugar rises like background) "SOME." (More guitars? Th-thanks!).
G's no plodder, though. Her first single, "Redneck Woman," is a
red hot
and poo rocket up the country charts, in a record-breaking way. Gretchen's
got the knack, even for resistant material. (Exception: "Homewrecker,"
which
shines & stinks, with worst attempted-recycling of "Sweet Home" riffage
in the
past five minutes at least. Special Presentation at next CMA Awards, you read
it here first). She gets energized, sensitized,in the midst of (the vivrantly
reassuring!) "When I Think About Cheatin'," which could (well) be sold
for
prevention of disease only, coming from Faith Hill. And "Holding You"
might be
Stepford Wives sub-ABBA, if delivered by Shania-in-decline, but here, I notice
this part of the melody that keeps singing to itself, possibly cos Gretchen just
brushed by.
In "What Happened," her eyes are clear full of tried 'n' True Love's
disappearing possibilities, like she once scoped Heaven. Sounds like she still
knows: "My Mamma would kill me, if I got kicked outta the choir. But you just
gotta race those chariots." You just gotta! Don Allred

ˇ
 
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