Take everything you think you know about Wynonna Judd and just throw it out the window. Seriously. Do this.
Because whatever you think you know about the former member of The Judds is pretty much irrelevant. Welcome to the fierce, empowered version of Wynonna — this is Wynonna V:2.0.
She spends her time these days as the lead singer of Wynonna and The Big Noise, a band she started with her husband and drummer, Cactus Moser. The band released its eponymous debut album in February.
It’s a mix of country, blues and rock that has sparse production and even less studio trickery. It’s to her career as “American Recordings” was to Johnny Cash and “Wildfowers” was to Tom Petty — the pivotal Americana moment in her career.
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Wynonna and The Big Noise will be hitting the Coast for a Christmas show at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi.
You can expect the some Christmas classics, as well some of Judd’s solo hits and a few cuts from the new album.
In an interview with the Sun Herald, Wynonna discusses how date nights with her husband led to a revamping of her career.
How did the “Big Noise” come to fruition?
My husband and I we were dating at the time and we would have these date nights and he would play these songs for me — he loves Poco and Chris Hillman and all of this California music and we ride around and listen to these great songs. When I wanted to make another record, I had all of these people pulling me in different directions that just weren’t me. So we started a band. I’m a singer in a band. After being a solo artist for 30 years, it was tough learning how to be in a band. But like Dave Grohl told me, “You just get together and play music until you don’t suck anymore” — that’s how you become a band.
We started jamming and then it became this thing where Cactus was the producer. He told me, “You can do the growl, we all know that, now sing this like you’re having a conversation.”
We did almost all of it live with very few overdubs. It’s the record I wanted to make. I wanted to make something that I felt I absolutely could not live without and that’s what we made.
I’m a big fan of the record, particularly “Things I Lean On” with Jason Isbell.
That’s the song. I love that song because it’s so relatable. It’s become one of my favorite songs to play in the show. Whether we’re playing in a club or a theater, you can hear a pin drop when we play it. Sometimes I feel very vulnerable and exposed when we play it. There’s nothing fancy about my vocals — I’m not going to win a vocalist of the year award for it, but it’s real. It’s a real song about people struggling.
We’ve suffered a lot of loss in 2016. How were you affected by the deaths of Prince or David Bowie or Merle Haggard?
I’ve known Merle Haggard for so long — I just can’t believe it. I was talking to Loretta Lynn the other day and she said, “I love you, honey.” And it just hit me that she’s going to be gone and I don’t know what I’m going to do because these are my people — my family. I started in this business when I was 18 and I had no clue and these were the people that were there for me. And they are gone and it just takes my breath away.
I have a great pedal steel player in my band and we are getting to a generation that doesn’t know what a pedal steel player is. And here we are trying to explain to this millennial crowd what a pedal steel guitar is. I’m at an age where it is all very strange to me.
But Merle — Mom and I opened for him. I was there when his dog died and I have all of these stories and now he’s gone. These were my people.
If you go
Who: Wynonna and The Big Noise Christmas
Where: IP Casino Resort at 8560 Bayview Blvd. in Biloxi
When: 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, 1016
Tickets: Start at $30 and available at Ticketmaster.com.