A decade in Nashville, Lainey Wilson is just getting started

Nov 7, 2022, 10:17 AM | Updated: Nov 8, 2022, 11:51 am
Country singer-songwriter Lainey Wilson poses for a portrait on Nov. 2, 2022, in New York to promot...

Country singer-songwriter Lainey Wilson poses for a portrait on Nov. 2, 2022, in New York to promote her album "Bell Bottom Country." (Photo by Matt Licari/Invision/AP)

(Photo by Matt Licari/Invision/AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Last year the stars aligned for Lainey Wilson after more than a decade trying to get the doors to open for her as a country singer-songwriter.

But even as she was winning awards and hitting the top of the Billboard country airplay chart, her family bedrock was shaken this summer with the hospitalization of her father, Brian.

“It’s really interesting trying to navigate life when your professional side of it is doing really great, but your personal feels like it is falling apart,” Wilson told The Associated Press. “And when my daddy got sick this past summer, I’m not gonna lie: It was hard to stand on stage and pour my heart out.”

Wilson is glad to say that — after two months in the hospital and weeks in rehab — her father will be by her side when she walks into the Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday as the leading nominee.

“It was definitely a test,” said Wilson, who had to cancel a couple of shows, but then resumed both her touring as well as her acting role on the new season of “Yellowstone.” “It was a test for me to roll my sleeves up and get the job done no matter what, no matter how I’m feeling.”

Wilson grew up on a farm in rural Baskin, Louisiana, where her family taught her life lessons about hard work and treating people right, along with plenty of Southern-fried sayings. And that blue-collar wit and wisdom is woven all throughout her new record “Bell Bottom Country,” a rollicking country-rock record that encompasses Wilson’s unique “country with a flare” attitude.

“I feel like everybody’s got a little bell bottom country about them,” she said. “It’s just leaning into whatever it is that makes you you — different and unique and unapologetically yourself.”

Earlier this year, she won song of the year and best new female artist at the Academy of Country Music Awards. That made her a likely nominee at CMA Awards, but her debut with six nominations puts her in a rare class of only four artists in CMA history to do the same and all of those other artists (Glen Campbell, Brad Paisley and Kacey Musgraves) went on to have huge careers that changed the genre. Her nominations include female artist of the year, new artist of the year, album of the year for “Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin,'” song of the year for “Things a Man Oughta Know,” and musical event and music video for “Never Say Never” with Cole Swindell.

Wilson certainly is no overnight success, living her early years in Nashville in a camper trailer and trying to make inroads in the songwriting community. One of her earliest artist co-writes was with a young North Carolina writer named Luke Combs, now a superstar who invited Wilson to open his stadium tour next year.

“Time was a big part of my story, and I think that’s why I had to wait a really long time,” said Wilson. “I mean, it took me seven years to even get a publishing deal, eight years to get a record deal,” she said.

Lots of things hit at just the right time for Wilson’s name to start spreading not only in country music, but in television as well. Her songs were played in earlier seasons of the Paramount Network show “Yellowstone” alongside a soundtrack that included songs from Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell. That led the showrunner Taylor Sheridan to offer her a role as a country singer in the new season starting Sunday.

Wilson said acting isn’t all that different from working a stage as a singer, learning lines that other people wrote, and said that it helped that the role was so similar to herself. And she didn’t even have to change her recognizable northern Louisiana accent.

Wilson said no one in the music industry has told her to smooth out her drawls and y’alls, but she said plenty of people on social media question whether her accent is exaggerated. She’s got fighting words for those critics: “The way that I talk is the way that I sing. Like it or lump it.”

In addition to her nominations, Wilson will take the CMA stage for a performance of “wait in the truck,” a duet with HARDY, that is currently climbing the charts. The song is a murder ballad about domestic violence that reminded Wilson of the ’90s Garth Brooks classic “The Thunder Rolls.”

“I want the people who have been abused to hear the song,” Wilson said. “I want them to feel like they are not alone. But I want the abusers to hear it. I want them to be haunted.”






Follow Kristin M. Hall at https://twitter.com/kmhall

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A crime scene is taped off at New Season Church in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Me...
Associated Press

Drive-by shooting injures 2 at funeral at Nashville church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A drive-by shooting in Nashville on Saturday injured two people as they and others were walking out of church from the funeral of a woman who was fatally shot earlier this month, according to police. Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron said the afternoon shooting occurred outside New Season Church, […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah, is pictured on Sept. 15, 2015. A woman died and a ...
Associated Press

Woman dies on hike in Utah’s Zion Park, husband rescued

A woman died and a man was rescued after they were caught in extreme cold weather while hiking in Utah's Zion National Park.
19 hours ago
FILE - Nick Fuentes, far-right activist, holds a rally at the Lansing Capitol, in Lansing, Mich., N...
Associated Press

Trump faulted for dinner with white nationalist, rapper Ye

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is renewing attention to his long history of turning a blind eye to bigotry after dining with a Holocaust-denying white nationalist and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West just days into his third campaign for the White House. Trump had dinner Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago club […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

12-year-old dies in Russian Roulette; murder charges brought

A 12-year-old boy is dead after playing Russian Roulette with peers in Jackson, Mississippi, police say. Jackson’s Deputy Police Chief Deric Hearn identified the boy as Markell Noah, according to reports by Mississippi-based WLBT-TV. Following the death officers arrested two juveniles and one adult Friday. Police say the two juveniles are being charged with murder […]
19 hours ago
President Joe Biden visits a shop in Nantucket, Mass., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Wal...
Associated Press

Biden, family hit Nantucket stores for some holiday shopping

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — President Joe Biden went holiday shopping on the Massachusetts resort island where he spends Thanksgiving, patronizing smaller independently owned stores on what the retail industry has called “Small Business Saturday.” Biden, his wife, Jill, and daughter Ashley went from store to store on Main Street in downtown Nantucket, lingering at Polo […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Rugby star and ALS campaigner Doddie Weir dies at 52

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Doddie Weir, a former Scotland rugby player whose diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease led to a widely praised campaign for more research into ALS, has died at the age of 52. The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) announced Weir’s death on Saturday. The lock played 61 times for Scotland and was famed […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
A decade in Nashville, Lainey Wilson is just getting started