I've got a whole city to hold down

November 09, 2004

Wherefore the party?

Her album is double-platinum and counting, sits at #21 on the Billboard chart more than six months after its release (it peaked at #2), and - oh yeah - she's from Illinois.

So why haven't you heard of Gretchen Wilson? Unless you've been tuned to mainstream country radio, that is.

Wilson's debut disc Here For the Party is probably the biggest story in Nashville country this year, but neither Chrissie Dickinson or Bobby Reed - who cover the country beat for the Trib and S-T respectively - have written about her.

In fact, both papers were supremely scooped today by none other than Kelefa Sanneh of the New York Times, whose review of Wilson's show Friday in DeKalb appears on Page One of today's NYT Living Arts section.

You can argue that Wilson isn't from Chicago - she hails from the Metro East region, which is in the St. Louis media market - but even still, the silence on her story from the Trib and S-T is odd. At least she didn't slip past the DeKalb Daily Chronicle (though they seem to think she sucks).

Update: On Nov. 9 Wilson won the Country Music Association's Horizon Award for best new artist. Dave Hoekstra gave her all of a sentence and a half in his snarky Sun-Times recap. The Trib just ran a wire story about the show - a piece that actually did quote Wilson: "I came here last year and sat way back there in the very back and dreamed of standing up here someday. I just had no idea it would happen this fast for me," she said.

Update II: An appreciation of Wilson (Gretchen) by Wilson (Carl).