Mother and daughter locked voices on such historic titles as “Love Can Build A Bridge,” “Young Love,” “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days)” and “Love Is Alive.” Wynonna ran through “No One Else On Earth” and “She Is His Only Need,” and they added a few holiday performances as well, including “Silent Night” and “Ave Maria.”
The Judds took country by storm in the 1980s before a potentially fatal bout with hepatitis C forced Naomi to retire from the road. The disease has since gone into remission, but she’s been content to let Wynonna carry on her solo career while she stays at home in Nashville most of the time.
Part of what made the Judds so attractive to fans was their willingness to share their personal dramas with the audience.
“When she was born, I say she came out screaming on key and searching for harmony,” Naomi told The Green Bay Press Gazette. “She was a very unusual child. She was emotional. She was creative. She was very porous, very, very impressionable.”
Naomi was convinced her daughter had a singing career in front of her, and she played a big role in Wynonna coming to national attention. But mother and daughter battled constantly. They spent endless hours on a bus together while Wy was in her 20s, and Wynonna was frequently embarrassed about the unusual things that inevitably happen while they’re onstage together. In the years since Wynonna’s been on her own, they’ve come to heal many of their differences, and Naomi avoids being too much of a mom while they’re in the spotlight.
“I realize that singing with Wynonna and helping her by becoming the harmony singer became a metaphor for our relationship,” Naomi said. “The harmony is supposed to bolster and enhance and support the lead… So with my harmony, I listen to her, I accept her reality, I pay attention, do deep listening and then I do whatever I can to color, to bring it out and blend so that it hopefully takes on a new life.”
The Judds do 15 more shows between now and Dec. 19 when the Last Encore Tour winds up in Phoenix. It’s an appropriate stopping point — the same city where they performed a reunion show to welcome in the new millennium at the end of 1999.
Editor’s note: Wynonna and Naomi were recently at the GAC studio — and speaking of those unusual things that happen onstage, here’s a particularly funny memory from Wynonna, and a touching one from Naomi:
Click HERE to see The Judds answer more fan questions!