Wynonna coming to Choctaw/Grant, Okla.

| February 21, 2018 | Reply

Story and photos by Mary Jane Farmer, first appeared in Paris Life Magazine, March 2018 issue

Wynonna asks in one of her songs, “Is It Over Yet?”. The answer is a firm and definite ‘No, it is not over yet.’ Though her career and her life seemed to be on hold for a while, she’s emerged from it all and is continuing to make the world a better place with her music.

Wynonna & The Big Noise are performing at the Choctaw Casino Event Center, Grant, Okla., Saturday, Feb. 24.

Wynonna and her mother, Naomi, rose to fame in the 1980s as The Judds. After a cross-country moves from their native Kentucky to California and back again, and after Wynonna received a guitar as a Christmas gift and learned to play it, she and her mother moved, in 1979, to Nashville. It was four years later when they were signed with RCA Records, recorded, and the hits started pouring in, 14 No. 1 hits of a total of 23 charted singles. And the tours, the awards, the fans, and good times. They stayed on top as the biggest-selling duo in country music until Brooks & Dunn took that title away in the 1990s.

But then, in 1991, Naomi had to back away from it all after being diagnosed with a chronic bout of Hepatitis C. They took a Farewell Tour. The two were able to reunite for a 1999 New Year’s Eve concert and in 2000 they toured again together and recorded new duo songs. Then, in 2010, came The Judds’ The Last Encore, 18-city tour and a new album, I Will Stand By You, under their name. In 2013, The Judds celebrated their 30 years in country music.

Wynonna and Cactus

In between all those times, Wynonna has been busy, not only with her music, but with acting, writing, philanthropy, and getting married.

She first appeared solo on television at the American Music Awards in 1991, debuting her single, “She Is His Only Need,” the first release from her first solo album. That song hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Singles chart, as did the next three singles off the self-titled CD, “I Saw The Light,” “My Strongest Weakness,” and “No One Else on Earth.”

She’s recorded other albums since then, and has appeared as a guest on recordings, such as singing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird,” and Christmas duets with Clint Black and Kenny Rogers. Her releases then were still making the charts, but none hitting the Top 10. She toured with Clint Black in a tour titled “The Black & Wy Tour.”

With the turn of the millennium, Wynonna began experiencing more successes, with the song “What The World Needs” off her 6th album reaching No. 15 on the country charts. She switched her style slightly, recording Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love it,” which hit the appropriate chart at No. 12 in 2005.

That was the same time she released her autobiography, Coming Home to Myself, and her first solo Christmas album which included a Latin version of “Ave Maria.” Then, jump to 2011 and Wynonna found herself to be a best-selling author with her Novel, Restless Heart.”

Wynonna’s new band, called Wynonna & The Big Noise, debuted and recorded at the popular venue 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville in 2011. Then, in 2013, she recorded one more project, but this time recording at her own home studio, featuring personal songs especially about the life-changing events she and her husband and drummer, Cactus Moser, had endured and come out of on the other side.

Sounds like the ideal life of a country singer? Well, there have been many ups and down, including the temporary disbanding of The Judds, estranged times with her family, two broken marriages before meeting Cactus and feeling her heart jump when he first kissed her, struggles with weight control, and the usual roller-coaster rides most of us go on sooner or later in life. But the iconic singer has and continues to work in solution mode.

The last tragic event, which has been worked through by both her and by Cactus and which she talks about on stage, happened in 2012. Cactus was riding his motorcycle in South Dakota when he crossed the centerline and struck a car. The result was a severely injured hand — not good at all for a drummer — and injuries to his left leg being so severe that amputation was the only solution.

Both of them, Wynonna and Cactus, talk about the accident and what they learned from it on their Website, WynonnaAndTheBigNoise.com.

The crash happened just months after their wedding. She said, “His hand was so shattered he had to struggle to hold a fork.” He was fit with a prosthetic leg and did all his physical therapy, at first, in bed. “Our bedroom was turned into a medical facility,” Wynonna said. But he worked constantly at it, and she stayed by his side, helping when she could. “I’ve seen him overcome so many obstacles. The sign of him using the stairs again for the first time had me in tears.”

Cactus is back in action, not only as husband and drummer, but as The Big Noise band leader. The Big Noise is also the name of that last album, which is definitely country but with a bit more bluesy feel than much of her other work.

And The Big Noise is Wynonna’s battle cry, “Because it’s me with my fists in the air, saying ‘I will over.’ That’s what we’ve done.”

And through the years, Wynonna’s songs have and continue to speak of love, of values, of acceptance, of faith, of romance. In “Things I Lean On,” she sings “Psalms 23 when I feel scared… 12 Steps when I need to find my way back… My Mama’s voice on the telephone… These are the things I lean on.” And more, so much more.

“Now it’s very much about the songwriting,” Judd said in a recent interview. “This is about really telling your story. It feels very intimate, too.”

Life is for the living, if you can look it in the face.” — Charlie McDonald

For tickets to the Wynonna & The Big Noise concert, go Online to ChoctawCasinos.com, select “Grant,” then “Entertainment,” then “Tickets” on Wynonna’s listing.

 

 

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