How Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” Was Actually My Childhood

A person riding a motorcycle in a river

“Redneck Woman” was the No. 1 song in country music 15 years ago. I know, hard to believe it’s been that long.

I was 12-years-old when this song came out in 2004. I lived in an old white farm house, sitting on 5 acres, surrounded by bean and corn fields. Typical blue collar midwest living. We had a barn and tractors, but no animals besides dogs, so it was more like a broken-down vehicle farm than anything. People were always stopping to ask if they could buy random parts. Things that seem really questionable today, but anyway. I come from an automotive obsessed family, so most of my family had participated in short track stock car racing at some point or another, girls included.

One day, my dad brought home this old beat up Chevrolet truck. Given my family’s lifestyle focus, I was bound to be taught how to drive at an early age and this was the day. I hopped behind the wheel with my dad on the other side of that bench seat and he taught me the basics. Could’ve been my own music video for “Drive” by Alan Jackson. After a few trips around the yard, he went to go do something else and told me I could keep making laps around the barn. Already being an adventurer, after a few laps around the barn, I decided to broaden my horizons and head out to the pasture.

It felt so great. This new-found sense of freedom. Cue the same feelings you hear listening to George Strait’s “The Best Day.” So, I’m just driving along around the property. I remember it being a lot bumpier out there than the ground around the barn. But I kept going until I stopped. Until I got stuck that is. Mud. I was convinced I could get out of there, so I tried to use my new reverse skills, nope. Hmm, I wasn’t moving. My tires were spinning. Mud was flying everywhere. As soon as I went to open the door, I saw my dad flying across the yard on the tractor. He was usually a pretty easy-going guy and could laugh about anything, but he was not laughing now. He had quite a few choice words to use as he hooked up the truck to pull the truck out. It actually took a little bit, I had dug pretty deep. I really think he was just mad I messed up the grass and put some intense tire marks in the ground. He said it was fine afterwards, but I was horrified. I didn’t drive again for a while after that.

The next morning, my mom was watching music videos on CMT as she did every weekend. Then she starts hollering at me to hurry and come to the living room to see this video. On that day, they were premiering the video for “Redneck Woman.” All I see is Gretchen Wilson doing some intense mudding in an old beat up truck. Sound familiar? My mom is dying laughing. But me, the girl that never did anything wrong, I was mortified. Shortly after, I got over it and grew up wanting to be “a red neck girl like [Gretchen Wilson].” I went in a bit of a different direction with my life, but it’s still a running family joke whenever that song comes on.

Now that I’ve gotten older and outgrew the embarrassment, these are memories I’ll cherish forever and a part of my identity I’ve grown to embrace. Also, let me just say that when I did drive again, my dad taught me how to appropriately navigate myself out of the mud and snow. What can I say? I’m just a product of my raise, I really do say “Hey y’all,” but not so much “yee haw.”

Reminisce with me and watch the “Redneck Woman” video here.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock