PARTY TIME

"Redneck Woman" Gretchen Wilson's record-shattering success has rocked Nashville and delighted fans. But the story behind country's fastest-rising female star is just as amazing as her sudden fame.

Gretchen Wilson is shocked and amazed by how quickly she has become a star. But she's not complaining. "It is a little bit overwhelming," she admits. "But I'm not nervous - just elated!"

Consider these achievements:

* Her hit "Redneck Woman" is the first song by a solo female singer to reach No. 1 for over two years.

* The song's climb to the top was quicker than that of any song by a new artist since Faith Hill took "Wild One" to the top in 1994.

* Gretchen's Here for the Party album sold 227,000 copies during its first week in stores, a record for a country debut.

Like most everyone else in Nashville, Gretchen is trying to figure out the reasons for her phenomenal success. Perhaps the best reason is an obvious one: At a time when country has grown slicker and more glamorous, "Redneck Woman" stands out from the crowd as a roof-raising honky-tonk tune that speaks directly to the lives of ordinary, working-class folks.

To read more about Gretchen Wilson's record-shattering success, pick up the new Country Weekly on newsstands today!

-- Story by Chris Neal

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