Wynonna Judd continues to ‘heal’ from mum Naomi’s death: ‘Blinded by sadness’

Wynonna Judd talks about her music career and all the moments shaped by her late mother.

While in Mexico for Brandi Carlile’s Girls Just Wanna Weekend festival, Judd, 58, shared that The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir asked her out to dinner on her late mother Naomi Judd’s birthday.

“He has no idea it’s my mom’s birthday,” Judd told Vulture. “My life is so weird, sometimes I almost can’t believe it. It’s like a movie that I watch from the outside.

It was Naomi’s first birthday since she took her own life on April 30 aged 76 after a long battle with mental illness. She was born on January 11, 1946.

Grammy-winning duo the Judds of Wynonna and Naomi had planned their last tour before Naomi’s death, and Wynonna decided to continue it without her late mother.

Wynonna Judd admitted that her initial decision was not to go through with the tour.
Terry Wyatt/WireImage

The Judds were set to begin their final tour – their first in a decade – just weeks after Naomi’s death, and Wynonna admitted her initial decision was not to go ahead with the tour.

“I was going through such hell, I felt like I couldn’t see anything. I was blinded by sadness,” she shared.

Wynonna Judd on stage during CMT and Sandbox Live "Naomi Judd: A Celebration of the River of Time" at the Ryman Auditorium on May 15, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Wynonna Judd onstage during CMT and Sandbox Live’s ‘Naomi Judd: A River Of Time Celebration’ on May 15, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Katie Kauss/Getty Images for CMT

“I went to people I really like and trust and got advice. These people were saying things like, “I think it’s important for you to remember that the fans are there for you.” I think it’s important to remember that music heals,” Judd said. “I just thought about it. Listening to my instincts, my body, my mind, I felt like I could either stay stuck in this place where I was or get up and move.

The singer-songwriter explained that it’s important to move your body when you’re down, so the tour became his “movement and groove”.

“I think it’s important to dance, I think it’s important to walk, I think it’s important to speak from your heart. And I was like, ‘Well, fuck it. This is what that I would do on tour,” she said.

Ashley Judd, Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd at the APLA 6th Commitment to Life Concert Benefit at the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City
Naomi Judd died by suicide on April 30 at age 76 after a long battle with mental illness.

Judd also shared that Judds’ song that reminds her the most of her mother is “Love Can Build a Bridge” as it appears onscreen in a video during the performance.

During a fan club sound check for the tour, Judd heard her mother singing the harmony alone when they started playing the video before the sound check started, and she wasn’t there. prepared.

“Without even missing a beat, I turned around and looked at the screen and said, ‘Mom, I’ve lost 20 pounds,'” she said. “It just caught me off guard – it was a knee-jerk reaction. Like, oh, there’s my mother. “I’m a nice girl, I promise you that.” I did my chores.

Wynonna Judd explained that the tour became her “movement and groove”.
ABC via Getty Images

Judd continued, “I live in the moment, and the moments are sudden, and sometimes they kick my ass and take my breath away. And then sometimes I start crying. And during that one, I happened to turn around and say something sarcastic, because isn’t that what we do to our mothers? »

Another song that attracts Judd during her live performances is “Love Is Alive” – which she says gets the “most enthusiastic response live”.

She described how people pull flashlights out of their phones during the performance and it’s like “being wrapped in a blanket of white light”.

Wynonna Judd speaks during a tribute to her mother, country music star Naomi Judd, Sunday, May 15, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.
Wynonna Judd speaks during a tribute to her mother, country music star Naomi Judd, on Sunday, May 15, 2022.
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

“This song lifts me to another level of existence,” Judd shared.

The song didn’t always elicit this heartwarming response, but after the pandemic and a lot of life and death, it took on new meaning.

“Today, after the pandemic, after people have lost their jobs and lost their lives, we are in a different place than ever before. Life and death experiences take us to another place of listening,” she said, “I’m now a grandmother. So I’m dealing with having a grandchild and then having my mother’s memorial.”

Ashley Judd, Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd at the 19th Annual American Music Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States.
Naomi Judd was born on January 11, 1946.
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The song is vulnerable and emotional for Judd and is sometimes so heavy that it ends up knocking her down.

“I’m singing a song and all of a sudden I look down and I see someone crying in the front row, and it hits me and I start crying, because I remember she’s gone “, she said. “And all of a sudden the song is different. I sing it differently. It’s sacred in a way that’s only increased over the years. I know it sounds heavy, but that’s just how i feel about this song.

Even though the tour helps Judd heal and she tries to live in the moment, she still struggles when the nights come.

During a fan club sound check for the tour, Wynonna Judd heard Naomi’s voice singing in a video, and she wasn’t prepared for it.

“After the show, Mom and I would sit in the front of the bus, look out the windshield and eat popcorn. So I tend to struggle with carbs at night because of her. I think about the comfort of sitting with her in the front of the bus,” she explained. “I didn’t realize then, and of course I do now, how precious that time was. I’ll be honest, there are times when I’m really sad and I miss her and it’s like, ‘Wow, I’m on this bus going down the freeway, like before.'”

Judd travels with her two dogs to help her deal with the “withdrawal” she feels after a show and to help ease the loneliness.

Judd is about to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her career and she’s still thinking about the ups and downs of how she got here.

Ashley Judd, Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd at the 2nd Annual YouthAids Capitale New York Benefit Gala, New York, USA
Ashley Judd, Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd at the 2nd Annual YouthAids Benefit Gala at Capitale in New York City.
Theo Wargo/WireImage

“My grandson was born ten days before my mother died. You tell me what’s going on,” she said. “It’s nine months after he left, and I’m still in mourning, and I’m still on tour. The fans have literally wrapped me in this blanket of absolute love and adoration, and I’m so giddy that I have to sit down.

‘The Judds: The Final Tour’ was originally an 11-date tour that kicked off in October – but now it’s added a 13-date second leg that kicks off January 26 and will feature special guests such as Tanya Tucker, Little Big Town, Brandi Carlile, Martina McBride, Ashley McBryde and Kelsea Ballerini.

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