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Wynonna Judd Wants to See Songwriters Getting More Recognition

Wynonna Judd Americana
Terry Wyatt, Getty Images for Americana Music

In September, The Boot caught up with Wynonna Judd and husband Cactus Moser as they walked the Americana Music Awards red carpet to get their thoughts on working together, ask Judd about her time as part of the Judds and get the scoop on some of the folks in the Americana scene who deserve more recognition.

Back in the 1980s, Judd ruled the charts with her mother, Naomi Judd; as the duo the Judds, the two were arguably country music’s first all-female supergroup. These days, she’s staging a comeback as a solo artist with her newest album, Wynonna & the Big Noise; the project has an Americana bent and more sass than ever — and it makes Judd feel as though she’s “come full circle” since her country music debut.

“I started out on the back porch with a guitar and made it with my mom. But we were definitely more acoustic and roots,” Judd tells The Boot. “We got big in production; we’ve done it all: stadiums, halftimes, whatever. We were America’s sweethearts in terms of, ‘Let’s get the Judds, and they’ll do anything!'”

Then along came Moser, whom Judd married back in 2012.

“He changes my life personally, and the next thing I know, we’re in the studio together, and he says, ‘Take off all that crap. You don’t get to do that big stuff anymore. No more horns sections and backup singers and all that stuff you had. We’re just going to strip down and get real,’” Judd recalls. “It’s like taking off your eyelashes on your first date!”

With Wynonna & the Big Noise, Judd feels as though she’s truly getting a second chance.

“It’s so vulnerable, and it’s changed my life. Cactus Moser has made the best record for me that I’ve ever done, and the best one of mine,” she gushes. “This record is my next chapter of what it’s like to be a 50-year-old woman and have a renewed spirit — a Stella Got Her Groove Back kind of thing. I’m sassier than ever.”

In addition to that sass, Judd’s also got some strong opinions about who should be getting the recognition in Nashville.

“The writers are important to me more than ever,” she explains. “All the songwriters here who don’t get the recognition — [the artists are] the ones who get the applause.”

Judd does, however, note that the success of artists such as Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell — the latter of whom was a collaborator on Wynonna & the Big Noise — is an encouraging step in the right direction.

“I’m so happy for people,” she says. “The American dream is alive, and it’s so neat to see people make it.”

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