Her own roots went back to the tiny town of Pocahontas, Illinois where she began singing as a child. She grew up poor, living in a succession of trailer parks. She went to school only through the eighth grade, and at 14 was working as a cook and bartender in the same club where her mother worked. By the age of 20, she was singing in two different bands in the area.
She moved to Nashville in 1996 and tended bar while singing on demos and in clubs for the next seven years. During this period, she became part of an informal group of singers and songwriters known as the Muzik Mafia who met once a week to try out new material. She and John Rich, another member of the group, wrote "Redneck Woman," an autobiographical song in which she unabashedly celebrated her redneck, white-trash background.
In 2003, she auditioned for and was signed by Epic Records. "Redneck Woman" was released as a single in the late winter of 2004 and immediately began its march up the charts. Here for the Party, originally scheduled for release in July, was moved up to May 11 because of the quick success of the single. As it, too, became a hit, Wilson agreed to opening spots on tours with Brooks & Dunn and Montgomery Gentry in the summer of 2004.
By this time "Redneck Woman" had become a classic country anthem and Wilson was a superstar. She coped with the instant celebrity, and continued to work as a musician, finding time to write a book, also called Redneck Woman, which hit shops in 2005, the same year her follow-up album, All Jacked Up, appeared.