SARAH VEST – STAFF WRITER
Celebrated country music singer Wynonna Judd’s rich and commanding voice has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and toured all over the globe. An Appalachian native, Judd learned to play guitar and harmonize by singing on her back porch in eastern Kentucky. She is returning to the Institution to perform for Chautauquans at 8:15 p.m. Friday, July 16 in the Amphitheater.
Deborah Sunya Moore, senior vice president and chief program officer (interim) and vice president of performing and visual arts, said that she is “excited for Wynonna to share with us her recollections — figuratively and literally.”
Judd has spent the COVID-19 pandemic quarantining on her farm in Tennessee with her husband, Cactus Moser. With sudden, copious amounts of free time, and being off the road for the first time in years, Judd began to reconnect with her roots by singing for the joy of it, rather than for an audience.
She found herself singing a series of covers with her husband — including “King Bee,” a blues tune originally popularized by Slim Harpo — that the couple has been performing together for years.
This song turned into the first single off her new EP, titled Recollections.
“My hope is that she will sing about this period we are all coming out of, and remind us that time away from some things can mean times of reflection, growth, creativity and more,” Moore said.
Judd began her career as one half of the successful mother/daughter group The Judds. Now she and her mother, Naomi Judd, are receiving their own star along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
According to a 2020 article from The Tennessean, the whole family used to visit the Walk of Fame when money was too tight to go to things like the movies.
“I was trying to teach (my) girls who these legendary people were,” Naomi Judd told The Tennessean. “It was like going to any other famous landmark in America.”
The Judds had a successful music career together, winning five Grammy Awards.
Judd said in a press release that Recollections was “a labor of love without the labor.”
The EP features five covers from Judd and Moser of songs by Fats Domino, John Prine, Nina Simone and the Grateful Dead.
“As a songwriter, you can get bogged down in your own craft sometimes, but there’s something so liberating about letting go of all that and just inhabiting someone else’s writing,” Judd wrote in a tweet.
While working on Recollections, Judd felt she learned a lot about her craft.
“When there’s no touring, no concerts, no band, no lights, no action, all that’s left is you and the song,” Judd wrote in a Facebook post. “All that’s left is your gift.”