Gretchen Wilson, "I Got Your Country Right Here"

50 Billboard Rating

Gretchen Wilson's fourth studio album, "I Got Your Country Right Here," doesn't plow any new ground compared with previous efforts, but it's difficult to dismiss it as same old same old. Her new set covers familiar working-class territory with lead single "Work Hard, Play Harder," on which she sings, "I'm the first to clock in, but the last to pass out." And the more-redneck-than-thou themes are accented by the jingoistic "Blue Collar Done Turn Red," where she unconvincingly jousts at windmills with lines like "Still think about the way it was when you could still speak your mind," which bemoans an imaginary loss of that basic American freedom. As with many of Wilson's young female country counterparts, the hotter the tempo, the less clearly she enunciates the lyrics. So the standout tracks here are the two ballads--"I'm Only Human" sends a clear message that even ass-kicking redneck girls show weakness, and "I'd Love to Be Your Last" is a study in great classic country singing and songwriting. Bombast and difficult-to-discern lyrics aside, Wilson plays to her core fans who turned up in eyebrow-raising numbers for her first three outings.--Wade Jessen

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