Wynonna Judd is one the most respected and well recognized female singers on the planet. With nineteen number one hits including those of the Judds, establishing her as one of the best selling female artists of all time. She and her band The big Noise are currently on tour playing incredible venues across the country including the Mishawaka Amphitheatre this past Thursday night.
The Judds mother daughter duo disbanded in 1991 and Wynonna began a solo career. In her solo career she has released eight studio albums, a live album, a holiday album, and two compilation albums, in addition to more than 20 singles. Her most recent recording was Wynonna & the Big Noise, released on February 12, 2016, and she released the single "Cool Ya'" that same month. In 2021 Wynonna was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. When you ask her about the induction, her response is “well, it’s about damn time!"
The Mishawaka is a beautiful Amphitheatre nestled in the Poudre Canyon in LaPorte, Colorado and the Poudre River basically runs right through the venue. It's an intimate locale for the caliber of talent that are always eager to the play on the historic site. Thursday's vibe was electric and full of anticipation. For many of the fans it was their first time at the Mishawaka and their first time seeing Wynonna & The Big Noise.
Sugar Britches opened the show performing an acoustic set of country music in direct support of Wynonna. Brian Johanson on lead vocals and acoustic guitar along with Ansel Foxley on dobro and vocals are two very talented musicians. They capture the true essence of country music with style, excellent musicianship and influential diversity. The songs are well crafted honest stories of life, from love songs to breakup songs with lyrical qualities that are truthful and witty. Brian writes music from his heart adding clever hooks and that have storyteller appeal while Ansel’s guitar skills on the dobro are simply remarkable.The sincerity in the music that can make you laugh and cry in the same sentence along with the unplugged feel was very welcoming for the audience and very well received. Check out Sugar Britches site (link included) for the 2019 release Don’t Make Her a Mix Tape Yet You Idiot.
The Big Noise took the stage next and performed about thirty minutes of original music and few select covers including One Way Out by the Allman Brothers. They also played a stunning instrumental called Sarasota inspired by the Allman and Betts families. Cactus Moser, Wynonna’s husband, is the drummer and primary vocalist of The Big Noise. Moser and the band warmed up the crowd for the main event, the fiery passionate redhead Wynonna.
When Wynonna appeared on the stage the crowd went nuts. She looked and sounded stunning. Her long fire red hair was blowing in the breeze as she and the band tore through what has become an historic catalog of music. By the third song the white Gibson acoustic made its first appearance and she played that thing like it owed her money. She commanded the stage with poise and grit with her larger than life attitude and uncompromised talent. Wynonna takes the genres of country, rock and Americana to new levels of excellence. She plays with heart, soul and passion. Her music is a message that is relatable, inspiring, and a celebration of life. What a treat for the crowd to see and hear this award winning superstar in such a beautiful natural setting.