2016 CD REVIEW
WYNONNA & THE BIG NOISE (CURB-SONY)
WYNONNA REPLACES WILLIE WITH JESUS AND A JUKE BOX
“Miss Evelyn tried her whole life to help the old man believe/ there ain't nothin' wrong with a Willie song/ but it ain't all you're gonna need/ but give a man a lot of hurt and he'll learn a different kinda verse/ ain't it funny what he's leanin' on with her gone?/Jesus and a jukebox brings comfort to his soul/ one says he'll see her again; one helps him let her go/ he carries that old cross right down to the last bar on the block/ praise the Lord and thank God for Jesus and a jukebox.” - Jesus and a Jukebox - Travis Meadows-Jeremy Stillman-David Tolliver.
Kentucky born singing actress Wynonna Judd has good reason to find sweet solace in Jesus And A Juke Box - a highlight of her seventh solo album - after her steamy storms of life frequently imitated art.
Wynonna's biological father decamped before she was born and her mother and long-time singing partner Naomi split with her new beau about four years later.
That was just the start of Wynonna's rough and rocky travelling in a chart topping career with her mum - a former nurse - while younger sister Ashley found fame as a Hollywood actress.
Wynonna, now 52, wed Arch Kelley III in 1993 who sired two of her children before they divorced in 1998.
She wed second husband D. R. Roach - her former bodyguard - on November 22, 2003 shortly after she was busted for DUI. But on March 22, 2007, Roach was arrested for sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 and Judd filed for divorce five days later.
There was, however, flickers of light at the end of this long tunnel.
On December 24, 2011 Judd became engaged to Colorado born boyfriend, musician Cactus Moser, best known as drummer for Highway 101 .
She married Cactus on June 10, 2012 at her home in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee, where she walked barefoot down the aisle in a Houri Barahimi dress.
But on August 18, 2012 Moser, now 59, was severely injured in a motorcycle accident on U.S. Route 16 in the aptly named Black Hills of South Dakota.
Cactus's Harley Davidson crossed the centre line and hit a car, resulting in his left leg being amputated above the knee.
Hang on there's now some good news.
After Wynonna received the lowest score on Dancing With The Stars on April Fool's Day, 2013, she saw Cactus walk again with his prosthetic leg.
Moser has recovered to play in her band and also produced her soulful new album with guests diverse as Alabama born Jason Isbell, Eagles singer Timothy B Schmit, Derek Trucks and his singing spouse Susan Tedeschi.
Moser recorded seven albums with Highway 101 from 1987-2000 before and after lead singer Paulette Carlson enjoyed a solo career and Nicky Nelson replaced her.
PSALM 23 BEFORE 12 STEPS
“Psalm 23 when I'm scared to death/ a sleeping pill and my mind won't rest/ a little BB King when the thrill is gone/ these are the things that I lean on/ God's grace when I'm looking on a dangerous path/ 12 steps when I need to find my way back/ my mama's voice on the telephone/ these are the things that I lean on.” - Things That I Lean On - Travis Meadows-Mark Daniel Sanders.
Wynonna's new album is a vast contrast to the sweet mother-daughter harmonies of The Judds that topped charts on more than 12 albums as The Judds in a 27 year career from 1983.
Wynonna and mother Naomi's success was waylaid in 1991 when Naomi was forced into retirement from live gigs because of chronic Hepatitis C.
Mama Naomi, now 70, may have been estranged from Wynonna at various times on their journey but is name checked in the duet on Things That I Lean On with Jason Isbell who cut his teeth with his launch pad - Dixie rockers Drive-By-Truckers .
So do the late B.B. King, Conway Twitty and the very much alive Devil who chooses a different type of two-stepping to tempt when her “spirit's weak and the body's breaking/ the fine line separating right from wrong.”
Yes, it's that popular 12 step program favoured by many sinners when they stray - especially in the Chris Stapleton-John Scott Sherrill entrée Ain't No Thing where the character is tempted to drink a bottle dry and sing until closing time.
Wynonna's duet partner here is Susan Tedeschi on one of several video clips on Nu Country TV Series #30.
Judd keeps it in the family by featuring former Allman Brothers guitarist Derek Trucks - Tedeschi's singing spouse of 15 years - on the uplifting anthemic tune Keeps Me Alive .
The singer also explores the spiritual power of positive thinking throughout with mountain metaphors in Cool Ya, Staying in Love and her duet with producer-husband Moser on Julie Miller's You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast.
But there's another hurdle when she teams with Schmit on I Can See Everything where her character fears her beau is being tempted by the ringing of another belle.
But not to worry - Cactus rides to the rescue on his co-write with David Lee Murphy on positive love songs Something You Can't Live Without and You Are So Beautiful .
It's no surprise that the four way collaboration between Wynonna, Moser, Doug Johnson and Billy Montana extends the faith fuelled journey in “God's not through with me yet” in Every Ending (Is A New Beginning ).
That unbridled faith triumphs over marital storms of life in the fitting finale Choose To Believe , penned by frequent Australian tourist Kevin Welch and Charlie White.
And, the singer is well qualified to sing of hardship.
“I went from Wynonna the singer to Wynonna the wife, the nurse, the cook, the driver,” Judd said of her ordeal when Moser went off his Harley and lost a leg.
“We're talking real down-in-the-trenches, hard-core stuff that you don't really think you're gonna have to go to in a marriage."
WYNONNA – QUEEN OF HER OWN KENTUCKY DERBY
“My faith whispers keep on going/ might be a miracle just over that hill/ there ain't no way I'm gonna ever know it/ standing still.” - Every Ending Is A New Beginning - Doug Johnson-Billy Montana-Wynonna-Cactus Moser.
Judd earned healthy royalties for Arena, cutting three Tina tunes after The Judds split.
Wynonna recorded Heaven Help My Heart on 1996 disc Revelations, Love's Funny That Way on The Other Side (1997) and Lost Without You on New Day Dawning (2000.)
Wynonna may have hit the cutting room floor on Dancing With The Stars but in January 2011 released her novel, Restless Heart.
She also wrote and performed the title track for Erin Brockovich reality TV series Final Justice and reprised her own role in TV series Touched By An Angel from 1998-2003.
Other TV roles included playing Cynthia Melville in the Hope & Faith TV Series in Wife Swap: Parts 1 and 2 in 2005, At the End of the Aisle (2003), Mother's Day (2000) and Psalm 151 (1998).
For trivia buffs she also appeared in The Magic School Bus TV Series and 2014 The Hornet's Nest documentary, Army Wives and the Reba McEntire telemovie Is There Life Out There .
And she performed with mother Naomi in the 1995 Love Can Build a Bridge telemovie and Leap of Faith in 1992.
Wynonna shares her acting success with younger sister Ashley, 48, whose racing car driving former husband Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 .
Ashley had leading roles in films diverse as Ruby in Paradise (1993), Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996), Kiss the Girls (1997), Double Jeopardy (1999), Where the Heart Is (2000), High Crimes (2002), De-Lovely (2004), Bug (2006), Dolphin Tale (2011), Divergent ( 2014), Dolphin Tale 2 (2014) and Insurgent (2015).
She starred as Rebecca Winstone in 2012 TV series Missing for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie.