Here I was, trying to understand “country couture” with a veritable expert: Grammy winner Gretchen Wilson, who was performing at the fashion event Glamorama. Note: If you ever get a chance to interview Gretchen Wilson, she is much happier talking about baseball than style.
Coda: You grew up in Pocahontas, Illinois. Do you have a fondness for performing in Chicago?
GW: It’s always great to be back. I have a few relatives around here still. But you know, I grew up closer to St. Louis than Chicago.
Coda: Did you spend much time in the Lou?
GW: [Visibly excited] Oh yeah, I’m a huge Cards fan. In my mind, they’re still the greatest.
Coda: So we’re at a style event [Glamorama.] Do you think the combination of country and couture is strange?
GW: Not really. I did Country on Ice a few weeks ago. I’ve been asked to do quite a few things like this. I look at them as opportunities to do things that I wouldn’t do otherwise. We’re here to raise money for a great cause, and we get to show off our kind of country and, you know, try to find a few more fans.
Coda: Music these days is as much about image as it is about sound. Does that bother you at all?
GW: [Gives me a look that indicates this is not a great question.] I’m one of the artists who is least into image. I’m more about this image. [She taps her heart.]
Crap. My attempt to uncover “country couture” is not going so well. But I press on.
Coda: So who helps you pick out your wardrobe [pictured] for events like these?
GW: Well, Big Kenny’s wife helps us all out. She knows us all. She’s one of the few people who can go into a store and knows what I would pick out. [Note to non-country listeners: Big Kenny is the “Big” in the country superduo “Big and Rich.” He likes to wear a hat like the band leader of a high school marching band.]
Coda: Do you have a stylist?
GW: [Laughs] No, no stylist on tour. I have a hair and makeup artist. She’s my glam squad.
Photograph: Cassie Walker