Friday, September 22, 2023

Love is Alive: Wynonna Judd Pays Tribute to her Mother

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Story and Photos by Kailee Shores | Assistant News Editor

On Thursday night, Wynonna Judd performed “The Judds: Love is Alive, The Final Show” at Murphy Center, alongside special guests Martina McBride, Kelsea Ballerini, Ashley McBryde, Little Big Town and Brandi Carlile. The show was an emotional tribute to the other half of The Judds duo and Wynonna’s mother, Naomi Judd, who died in April 2022. 

It was a full circle moment for the artist, as she performed her last show with Naomi at Murphy Center 31 years ago.

Little Big Town and Wynonna sing “Love Is Alive.”

“As an artist, I’ve never experienced this kind of emotion at a show,” said Wynonna about the Love is Alive tour, “Every night, they’re singing so loud that I stand back from the microphone and just weep because there’s a revival taking place.”

Thursday night was no different. Fans voices rang out in each song, the entire concert a celebration of the life Naomi lived and the continued life of The Judds’ music, but also a night of healing, for the fans and Wynonna.

“I think for her to get up on that stage and do what she did tonight, or any other night on this tour, is incredible,” said Ashley Eicher, television host, producer and MTSU alumna.

Eicher got her start in the music business industry from Wynonna, working in artist management after she graduated from MTSU. The Judds have always been a big part of her life, so for her, the concert was a very full circle moment, as it was for many. 

“There were a lot of layers for me in tonight. It was joyful but it was sad because I kept thinking, ‘I wish Naomi was here,’ and then I loved seeing Wynonna back on that stage doing what she was created to do,” said Eicher.

Accompanied by a light show, Wynonna paid tribute to Naomi.

Wynonna poured her soul into each song, as did the fans. The whole crowd was like a choir, voices interspersed even spontaneously jumped into the sweet harmonies heard on Judds records.

“The people are just literally pouring out their love to her. You can just, it’s like tangible. You can just feel the love coming towards her on stage and then when she turns it over to the crowd and they sing, I mean, they sing with their whole hearts,” said Kimberly Schlapman from Little Big Town.

All the artists look to Wynonna, who looks up to the sky, talking to her mother.

In the midst of the beating heart of a room, there was a gaping hole. Naomi’s absence was felt throughout the arena. Every so often, Wynonna would look to the sky and talk to her mother. 

Singer-songwriter Ashley McBryde has been rolling around on the tour with Wynonna, singing Naomi’s harmonies. 

“Those are shoes you will never, ever, ever fill and no one ever, ever can, but just to stand anywhere close to the arena where Miss Naomi was, to sing her notes, it just feels a little bit strange… I’m so happy I get to do it,” said McBryde.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News 

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