b. Christina Claire Ciminella, 30 May 1964, Ashland, Kentucky, USA. The mother-and-daughter duo the Judds was one of the most successful country acts of the 80s. After contracting chronic hepatitis, Naomi Judd decided to retire owing to ill health but, having announced this, they undertook a farewell world tour of 100 concerts. With her lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Wynonna had become the dominant part of the Judds and, indeed, their final album, Love Can Build A Bridge, is virtually Wynonna’s solo debut. The Judds played their final concert in December 1991 and the following month Wynonna performed on her own at the American music awards in Los Angeles with her mother in the audience. Her solo album, Wynonna, led to three US country number 1s, ‘She Is His Only Need’, ‘I Saw The Light’ and ‘No One Else On Earth’ (which, with its synthesizer effects, was far removed from traditional country music). The album touched many musical bases and Wynonna’s role model was Bonnie Raitt. By the mid-90s the sales had topped four million. Tell Me Why was an equally assured album; opening with the breezy title track, written by Karla Bonoff, there was rarely a dull moment. Songs by Jesse Winchester, Sheryl Crow and Mary-Chapin Carpenter enabled Wynonna to cross over into the AOR market.
After contributing an excellent cover version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Freebird’ for the Skynyrd Friends album, Wynonna came off the road when she became pregnant with her son Elijah. It was a particularly emotional time because she also broke up with her manager and discovered the real identity of her father. She said that making 1996’s Revelations kept her sane, and during the recording she married Nashville businessman Arch Kelley III (Elijah’s father). This album and the following year’s The Other Side provided a further indication of her move away from country, with strong rock and blues influences removing her image from the Judds’ cosy American family unit of the Reagan era. In 1999, she reunited with her mother for a New Year’s Eve concert in Phoenix, Arizona. The following year the duo recorded four new tracks for a bonus disc issued with Wynonna’s New Day Dawning, and undertook a multi-city tour. Her next studio album, 2003’s What The World Needs Now Is Love, was billed as a return to her country roots but in reality was another glossy mix of a number of musical styles. In October 2004, the artist launched the concert tour Her Story: Scenes From A Lifetime, a music and storytelling show offering a biographical account of her life and career. Her surprising cover version of Foreigner’s ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ found favour with the dance audience in early 2005.