Wynonna Judd Makes Herself Heard On Grief & Grace On ‘Today’

Wynonna Judd interview
Country Living, Country Music, Country Music News, History, Tours, TV
Tresa Patterson

Assuredly, Wynonna Judd owns a place all her own among country music queens. She loves nothing more than the sight of faithful fans, side-by-side, wearing those “vintage” shirts proclaiming faithfulness to The Judds through their remarkable reign in the 80s. At this juncture in time, however, those T-shirts serve a much greater purpose for half of country music’s greatest mother-daughter duo.

On the verge of a further extension of The Judds: The Final Tour, just announced, the Mama He’s Crazy singer contended with some real rain showers on Today during her visit to Rockefeller Plaza. Coincidentally, as fate demands, that wasn’t the only obstacle to overcome on the morning show. Still, in characteristic style, Wynonna Judd carried on in performance and conversation, leaving meaningful wisdom on grief and grace.

Wynonna describes how performances heal the pain

“These shows are healing me, one show at a time,” Wynonna Judd relays to Hoda Kotb during her candid Today sit down. Her new song Broken And Blessed, probes the painful but unavoidable duality of emotion that fills anyone enduring deep grief.

“I’m somewhere between hell and Hallelujah, the Kentucky native admits.” Overwhelmingly, she credits fans and friends celebrating each show with her as “a victory lap.” She said, “It’s like the greatest party you throw yourself before the end.” Of course, neither Wynonna nor Judds’ fans want to hear “the end” in any context. Following Naomi Judd’s death by suicide on April 30, legions of fans found new love for the Judds’ catalog and undeniable bond.

On a lighter note, Wynonna Judd divulges that she stashes tissues for tears in the same place as her mom– in her cleavage! She also takes comfort in the joys of her six-month-old granddaughter, and how “she looks right through you.” Like many in the music world, the daughter still grapples with the “why” of her mother’s loss. In turn, her life coaches guide her to ask “What can I do?” instead of drowning in the unanswerable question.

A little rain never dampens Wynonna’s day

Wynonna Judd searched the crowd for those preferred T-shirts. Obviously, though, most were covered by the complimentary Today concert series raincoats. Nonetheless, through  Why Not Me to  Grandpa and all the way through the closing song of her set, Love Is Alive, the artist and her fans prove as waterproof as her mascara.

The soggy conditions notwithstanding, clustered choruses of mothers, daughters, or simply sisters in arms (some backed by dutiful male support) sang every word, and the headliner noted “I see you,” in many displays of loyalty. As Wynonna Judd detailed her 39-year career, “This is family.” Country Music Alley continues to follow the grief journey of Wynonna and Ashley Judd.  Fortunately, “Ashley and I are closer than we’ve been in a long time,” Wynonna confirms. She urges the press to “get off our backs.”

Admittedly, “we don’t agree on much,” Wynonna Judd agrees. “But we’re there for each other. We show up.”

A microphone mishap

Oddly enough, just as Wynonna Judd sat down to talk with Hoda & Jenna in the fourth hour of Today, the crew and the hosts realized that their premiere guest is not properly attached to her microphone. A handheld microphone quickly arrives. Wynonna displays her great sense of humor for the “great job” by the pioneering broadcast in morning television.

Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb opened their questions by commenting on how cohesive and intuitive the team around Wynonna Judd was. She values people who immediately let her know the bad, the good, and the truth about any situation. The AM sidekicks ask who Wynonna calls when she needs a listening ear. “I don’t really call people,” she relates. One stellar artist who calls her, however, is Brandi Carlile, and with perfect timing, the Grammy-winning buddy appears on screen to cheer on Wynonna.

Judd credits grace, appreciation, and humor as vessels of comfort through grief. Forgiveness, too, is essential. “Give yourself a break,” she reminds anyone in earshot.  “Any time you think you have the biggest hell, I promise there is someone with more right beside you.”

Clearly, Wynonna Judd hears countless stories of personal grief these days, and she’s listening to every word.




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