Choctaw, MS – Wynonna Judd performed for two hours to a sold-out house at the Silver Star Convention Center in Choctaw, Mississippi on Friday night during her 3rd annual Christmas tour.
The renowned songstress, who is celebrating her 25th year in country music, opened the show with “Mary Did You Know?” and followed that with a jazzy version of “Winter Wonderland.” Other Christmas tunes sung were “O Holy Night,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” and “Emanuel.”
Judd bantered playfully with the audience asking how many had never seen her in concert before that night.
“Well, whether you’re here because you want to or because you’ve lost all of your money, we’re glad you’re here!” said Judd. “This is a tough time of the year for many, but we’re going to leave you with some joy!”
The country singer is no stranger to desperate circumstances and recalled her early beginnings in Ashland, Kentucky.
“We were on welfare, but we had everything because we had each other,” Judd said smiling. “There were no computers and no Twitter, so I started singing and writing songs.”
Judd and her mother, Naomi, were signed to Curb Records in 1983 as the duo The Judds. They had twenty-three hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts from 1983 until 1991 and sold more than twenty million records worldwide. The group dispersed when Naomi retired, but her multi-talented daughter was signed to MCA records as a solo artist.
Ashley Judd, Nami’s other daughter, did not pursue singing like her mother and sister, but is an accomplished actress known for playing strong women characters in films.
“My favorite memory of Ashley as a child was when she was dragging this huge Christmas tree by herself up a steep hill,” Judd said with a laugh. “That is when I knew she was going to make it.”
Judd also spoke openly about her Christian faith and belted out the highly inspirational melody, “How Great Thou Art.”
The Palmetto State Quartet joined Judd onstage for the concert. The South Carolina Christian entertainment group has endured many personnel changes during its inception around 1946, but the current members are Kerry Beatty, Brian Beatty, Jeremy Calloway, and Larry Strickland.
“Larry Strickland … he sang with the King and now he’s living with the Queen,” Judd quipped. “He’s married to my mother.”
Strickland, originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, moved to Nashville in 1974 and joined the Stamps Quartet who toured extensively and recorded with Elvis Presley from 1971 until 1977.
In addition to traditional Christmas standards, Judd rocked to “Burning Love,” a song made famous by Presley in 1972, and sang “I Want to Know What Love Is,” a power ballad recorded in 1984 by the multi-platinum rock group Foreigner.
After thunderous applause and a standing ovation, Judd’s first encore of the night was an awe-inspiring version of “Ave Maria” and the singer dedicated the hymn to her grandfather. She ended the night of entertainment with the popular Christmas carol, “Silent Night.”
Judd’s Christmas tour ends on December 20 in Las Vegas, Nevada. After that she is appearing on Great American Country, riding on a train through the Appalachian Mountains with Santa Claus to distribute more than 15 tons of toys and gifts to thousands of families.
Article by Melissa Parker
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