Wynonna Judd cancels tour date at Hollywood Casino after mother’s death

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Wynonna Judd (Part 1)

“It’s a strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed,” Wynonna Judd said upon accepting The Judds’ induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville on May 1, just one day after her mother, Naomi Judd, reportedly died by suicide at age 76.

WTOP spoke with Wynonna just three days before the tragic incident to promote her upcoming tour, which was supposed to visit Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia this Saturday, but this weekend’s show has now been canceled.

“It has been an accumulation of conversations with my fans,” Judd told WTOP. “I noticed during the pandemic when I was doing my Zoom calls that the fans would constantly talk about the music, because it’s a healer, it’s a motivator, it’s something that we all use to encourage ourselves to move past a relationship or get through something very difficult.”

The tour will continue after four canceled dates and will be called “Herstory and Hits,” marking 30 years since leaving The Judds to record her solo album “Wynonna” (1992).

“Life is moving by so quickly,” Judd said. “I’ll be on stage and think to myself, ‘I was 18 when I started out.’ … You go back through your life and think, ‘Wow, I’ve been through so much in my short life.’ Thirty years as a solo artist is pretty weird. It’s very strange to think of my ‘herstory’ and think, ‘I’ve been doing this for more than half my life.”

What was it like stepping out on her own after years of mother-daughter success?

“It’s much like your wedding day,” Judd said. “You have so much that you’re feeling, you’re feeling all the feels, and definitely walking down memory lane for me is both gratifying and I’m in awe by the fact that I’ve done so much and the fans have been there so long.”

Her first album delivered numerous No. 1 hits, including “She is His Only Need.”

“It marks a part of my life where I was in quite a transition,” Judd said. “I went from death to life within months of each other, ending the tour with mom, then coming out on my own … walking out on stage at the AMAs, seeing all of my peers in the audience … there’s my mom, I’m doing it on national television, I’d been living in a goldfish bowl since 1983.”

It also featured the rocking smash “No One Else on Earth.”

“I was so young, full of life and passionate,” Judd said. “People [were] watching me celebrate my independence. I think they felt like they could see themselves in me. … I was riding my Harley, I had my hair jacked to Jesus, I was just feeling really feisty and alive, and I think people loved that. They enjoy watching me because they feel the same way.”

Fans also appreciated the breakup tune “I Saw the Light.”

“Each song represents a chapter, so ‘I Saw the Light’ was me coming out on stage as the, let’s just put it this way, ‘I’m not going to put up with your stuff, dude. Bye, Felicia,” Judd said. “It’s definitely me in that mode and women just look at me and go, ‘Yeah, been there, done that,’ so we relate to each other. I’m talking to the people about my experience.”

Judd remains grateful to still be at it after all these years.

“Everyone’s got a story,” Judd said. “Mine is that I’ve been doing this since 1983, I’m on the road, I’m a ‘Road Scholar.’ I wake up in a different state every day, I go out on stage and I give everything I’ve got. I spend a lot of time just looking up thinking, ‘Lord, how did all this happen and why me? How is it that I’m still here at the seat of country music?'”

How does she want to be remembered long after she’s gone?

“The corny answer is … I want to be remembered,” Judd said. “I love to hear people’s stories about how my music has encouraged and influenced them through their ups and downs, the joys and pains of life. Just to be remembered as someone who sung how people felt and represented ‘real,’ the truth. That’s what my music is about.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Wynonna Judd (Part 2)

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up