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Music / Wynonna Judd

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Originally one-half of the Country Music mother-daughter duo The Judds, frontwoman Wynonna Ellen Judd (born Christina Claire Ciminella, May 30, 1964) broke off for a solo career that lasted most of The '90s.

Wynonna spent most of The '80s singing lead vocals in The Judds alongside her mother, Naomi. But Creative Differences and Naomi's bout of hepatitis C allowed the two to split in 1991.

Wynonna signed with Curb Records in 1992 and launched her career with her self-titled debut album Wynonna, which was certified quintuple-platinum and sent all three of its first singles to #1: "She Is His Only Need", "I Saw the Light", and "No One Else on Earth". Her sophomore album Tell Me Why was not quite as successful, but still accounted for multiple radio hits. After a brief hiatus in 1995, she returned in 1996 with Revelations, followed by the Greatest Hits Album Collection and the less successful The Other Side and New Day Dawning. The latter included a bonus EP, Big Bang Boogie, that reunited her for four songs with her mother.

Her musical output has remained consistent throughout the 21st century, despite diminishing returns at radio. While as one-half of the Judds the material was usually traditional-leaning country, the younger Judd's solo output has found shades of pop, rock, AC, and dance-pop.

She is the sister of actress Ashley Judd and wife of Michael Scott "Cactus" Moser, drummer for late-80s country band Highway 101.


  • Wynonna (1992)
  • Tell Me Why (1993)
  • Revelations (1996)
  • The Other Side (1997)
  • Collection (1997)
  • New Day Dawning (2000)
  • What the World Needs Now Is Love (2003)
  • Her Story: Scenes from a Lifetime (2005) (live compilation album and book; featured the single "Attitude")
  • A Classic Christmas (2006)
  • Sing: Chapter 1 (2009)
  • Wynonna & the Big Noise (2016)

Tropes present in her work:

  • Advertised Extra: Naomi sang backing vocals on "Flies on the Butter (You Can't Go Home Again)", but it was credited as "Wynonna with Naomi Judd" instead of The Judds.
  • Christmas Songs:
    • "Let's Make a Baby King" has a Christmas-themed first verse about Jesus, but is otherwise about empowerment.
    • She and Kenny Rogers did a duet version of "Mary, Did You Know?" in 1996.
  • Bedroom Adultery Scene: "I Saw the Light," though the narrator doesn't even need to make inside the house before she can see the view into the bedroom, where her boyfriend is cheating on her with another woman.
  • First-Name Basis: She is usually credited as just "Wynonna" on her albums.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Occurs in "Girls with Guitars", which contains the lyric "Oughta be a song about girls with guitars".
  • Shout-Out: "Girls with Guitars" samples the riffs from "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Smoke on the Water", and contains a lyrical reference to "Money for Nothing".
  • Rearrange the Song: The radio edit of "Rock Bottom" added a horn section and a fadeout, while "Heaven Help My Heart" had a long outro shortened.
  • Rock Bottom: Her 1994 song of the same name is an empowerment anthem declaring that "rock bottom ain't no place to be".
  • Singer Name Drop: "Attitude" has the line "ol' Wynonna got somethin' to say"
  • Stage Names: A city mentioned in "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" ("Flagstaff, Arizona\Don't forget Winona"), her grandmother's name, and her mother's maiden surname, legally changed when her mother did so after divorcing Wynonna's stepfather (her biological father abandoned Naomi) - both disliked "Ciminella", with Wynonna saying it was "too Italian" and reminded her of salmonella.
  • Vocal Evolution: Her voice started getting huskier and throatier as early as her latter-day material in The Judds, but continued to get deeper and rougher with age. On some of her latter songs, she sounds like a man.