Wynonna & the Big Noise (Curb)
Wynonna Judd has repeatedly reinvented herself since rising to country music stardom in her teens. Despite a career of high-water marks — including singing lead in the Judds, a duo with her mother Naomi_Wynonna sounds as good as ever on "Wynonna & The Big Noise," her first collection of original material since 2003.
The songs blend blues, country and rock with an emphasis on rhythm 'n' soul. Vocally, Judd reveals the power of restraint-and-release while tapping into a well of emotion and wisdom. There's plenty of variety, too, from the voodoo blues of "Ain't No Thing" (with Susan Tedeschi) to real-life spiritual "Things That I Lean On" (with Jason Isbell) to finger-snapping love song "Something You Can't Live Without."
Her covers include Poco's 1972 recording, "I Can See Everything," with original vocalist and songwriter Timothy B. Schmit on harmony vocals; a sweet soul take on Raphael Saadiq's "Staying In Love"; and a rollicking version of Julie Miller's "You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast," with harmonies by Judd's husband and the album's producer, Cactus Moser.
On her first album fronting a band, Wynonna brings the noise, for sure; but she also offers a master class on how to instill feeling into songs arranged in a variety of musical styles.