Gretchen Wilson, Sony Music Part Ways
July 28, 2009
Gretchen Wilson and Sony Music Nashville have "mutually decided to part ways," according to a press release issued by the label on Tuesday (July 28). Wilson originally signed with Epic Records, which released the Redneck Woman album in 2004. The title track spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's country singles chart and created national media attention for Wilson. The following year, she reached No. 8 at country radio with "All Jacked Up," but no subsequent singles reached the Top 20. Epic was folded into the RCA Label Group during Sony Music's merger with BMG in 2005 and 2006. The press release announcing Wilson's departure from the label indicates she and Sony Music Nashville will cooperate on future releases from her existing music catalog. Wilson's other Top 10 hits include "Here for the Party," "When I Think About Cheatin'" and "Homewrecker."
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Gretchen Wilson Makes a New Shopping List
Gretchen Wilson photo courtesy of SonyBMG Nashville.
July 29, 2009 — Gretchen Wilson is in the market for a new record company now that she’s departed from Sony Music Nashville, where she took the country genre by storm five years ago with "Redneck Woman."
Sony indicated the two parties have "mutually decided to part ways" in a press release issued Tuesday. Gretchen leaves three CD releases for the label to mine for catalog sales in the future, but it appears she may be taking her newest recordings with her as she goes.
Gretchen had started recording an album more than a year ago, fitting sessions in between her work on the road, studying for her GED, and her commitments as a single mom. She looked specifically for songs that mixed country roots with a Southern-rock background, attempting to rekindle the fire she experienced when she first gained national attention.
She released one single from the project, "Don’t Do Me No Good," in June 2008, but it failed to crack the Top 40 on the Country Aircheck chart. The album, titled I Got Your Country Right Here, was originally supposed to come out last fall, but finding songs that Gretchen and Sony could agree on apparently became difficult.
"They thought the record was missing something, and we went on a hunt," Gretchen told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Typically, record labels shoulder the costs for recording sessions and retain control of the masters. In this instance, Gretchen is attempting to buy back the tracks from the label, allowing her to get them to fans through another avenue.
Gretchen and her management are "still working that out," her spokesman, Craig Campbell says. "Everybody’s hoping that’s gonna work out, because from what I understand, she was pretty much done" with the album."
If Gretchen is able to reclaim the rights to her master recordings, she would then be free to shop the music to another major label or an independent record company, or to release it on her own.
"All that stuff is being talked about," Craig said. "There’s nothing in concrete at all. I don’t think there’s anything even in clay right now."
While record companies are in the business of knowing what will and won’t sell, they don’t always get it right, and artists have been known to rejuvenate careers by taking their work from one label to another. The best-known instance came 10 years ago when Toby Keith angrily left Mercury Records in a dispute about the quality of his latest recordings. He bought the masters and took them to DreamWorks, where the album in question launched him from a middle-of-the-pack artist to superstardom. The album in question: How Do You Like Me Now?!.