Wynonna & The Big Noise will perform Oct. 5 at The State Theatre in State College. Photo provided
Wynonna & The Big Noise will perform Oct. 5 at The State Theatre in State College. Photo provided


Wynonna Judd to bring ‘battle cry’ to State College

By Sarah Rafacz


September 28, 2017 10:01 AM

For Wynonna Judd, there’s freedom after 50.

She’s been “to hell and back so many times” and survived that she’s not letting anyone tell her who she is, Judd said recently on a call with reporters.

“I still see the music as my battle cry,” she said. “And I will not, I will not be condemned, and I’m not gonna let this world steal my joy.”

Everyone can sit back and watch her work it, Judd said. And she doesn’t care if anyone likes it because she’s having so much fun.

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That confidence is evident in Wynonna & The Big Noise’s self-titled debut album, which was released in February 2016 and produced by Judd’s husband and drummer, Cactus Moser.

“Judd’s life has been full of the peaks and valleys that define the blues,” Rolling Stone’s Stephen L. Betts wrote. “On the uncompromisingly raw, gritty (album), ... she mines that territory, mixing bluesy wails with the high lonesome bluegrass of her Kentucky upbringing.

“She’s still delivering earth-moving vocals straight from her toenails, but for this LP — her first fronting a band — she skipped the pedicure.”

It’s a mix of country, Americana, blues, soul and rock.

The “Roots & Revival” tour kicked off in March and stops by The State Theatre stage on Thursday.

“I’m home. I’m back on that stage every night where I feel the most free of any place on Earth,” Judd said.

She’s been “reborn” into a third chapter of her career.

“I’m just in this really spicy mood,” Judd said. “And I feel like this show is a tragic comedy. ... You’re gonna get a lot of humor and a lot of life. You’re gonna see me on fire, basically, because I’m so full of joy and celebration.”

And it’s the fans who breathe life into Judd’s music, she said.

Her memories of being on the road are less about statistics and more about the experiences she’s had with people.

“When I’m at shows, if I don’t have that dialogue with the fans and I don’t have that selfie with that one guy who’s completely dressed up like me, literally, who has come to the show in drag and who is doing the Wynonna Judd lookalike,” Judd said. “If I don’t get him up on stage and get a photo with him, what’s the point?”

She said sometimes when she gets down or tired or weary, Moser reminds her that making and performing music is a privilege.

The band motto, Judd said, is that they get paid to travel and they play for free.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz


  • What: Wynonna & The Big Noise: “Roots & Revival” tour
  • When: 8 p.m. Thursday
  • Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College
  • Info: www.thestatetheatre.org