Wynonna Judd on Making Her New ‘Tantrum Record’
Wynonna Judd is currently in the middle of a tantrum that even a whirling dervish of a 2-year-old badly in need of a nap might find exhausting. But the source — and also the outlet —for her unhinged, yet wholly healthy abandon is the spotlight in which she finds herself during an unexpected third act of her career.
Wynonna’s room-filling voice and outsized personality were key factors in making the Grammy-winning mother-daughter duo the Judds one of the most celebrated acts of the Eighties. Thrust into a solo career after mom Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1991, critics and audiences were cautiously optimistic about her ability to step out of Naomi’s shadow (never mind that she was the act’s lead singer all along). Three Number One singles, a solo debut LP that sold more than five million copies, and two subsequent platinum albums went a long way to quell the naysayers, and the occasional Judds reunion left the door open just enough for her to fall back into the familiar.
But like a rebellious, strong-willed kid, Judd would do the unexpected, appearing on Dancing With the Stars, reuniting with Naomi for a reality-TV series, and inadvertently landing in the tabloids. With DUI arrests (one), kids (two) and husbands (three) among the headlines, Judd’s life has been full of the peaks and valleys that define the blues. On the uncompromisingly raw, gritty Wynonna and the Big Noise album, out today, she mines that territory, mixing bluesy wails with the high lonesome bluegrass of her Kentucky upbringing. She’s still delivering earth-moving vocals straight from her toenails, but for this LP — her first fronting a band — she skipped the pedicure.
Wynonna and the Big Noise is produced by her husband and drummer Cactus Moser, whom she married in June 2012, two decades after they first met when the Judds and Moser’s band Highway 101 toured together. Two months into their marriage, Moser lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident and Judd spent the next several months caring for her partner, who was fitted with a prosthetic leg and eventually returned to his drum kit. Taking stock of their lives, the couple began recording Judd’s new album.