Judd, Naomi "Love Can Build a Bridge" - 1993
I knew nothing much about country music when we moved to the UK in 1994. Well, I knew the "Old Garde", Willie Nelson, Hank Snow and Hank Williams, Dave Dudley, Johnnie Cash, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Tammie Wynette and the likes, but none of the more modern ones. I had never heard of Alan Jackson, George Jones, Travis Tritt, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dwight Yoakam, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, or Mary Chapin Carpenter let alone Naomi or Wynonna Judd.
But at the time, you could get an American TV channel, called Country Music Television (CMT). And that's when I discovered a lot of the newer singers. However, I think I remember seeing Wynonna only once or twice and "Love Can Build a Bridge" only performed by three other ladies, one of them I remember being Dolly Parton.
So, despite of me hardly knowing the Judds, how did I end up reading their life story? I found the book on one of the swap shelves and I do like Ashley Judd as an actress, so I thought it might be interesting for me. Still, it took me about ten years to tackle it. When the Xanadu challenge I take part in, gave us the topic "Music", I thought that is finally the prompt to start it.
It was an interesting book about how you become a singer and all the upheavals of such a career. It was also about a single mother raising two daughters. Gosh, was I happy I have boys while reading this! On the other hand, she left her kids alone a lot, especially Ashley when she started her career with her more complicated daughter. She was easier to be pushed aside. I don't consider that very Christian.
I thought it might be a European (or rather non-US-American) thing that the many frequent remarks about God and praying and getting what you deserve if only you believe in the right God annoyed me but I have read other reviews (by US-Americans) who thought she was a little "too preachy". I'm always careful about people who cite the bible all the time.
I always try to read a little about the background of a book both before and after the book, especially if it's non-fiction. So, I was shocked when I read about the parentage of Wynonna. According to the book, Naomi (then Diane) became pregnant with her daughter Christina Ciminella (Wynonna) at the age of seventeen by her then boyfriend Michael Ciminella but on various websites, a guy called Charles Jordan, is Wynonna's father and he abandoned Naomi shortly after finding out about the pregnancy and she went back to her former boyfriend. She mentions her family and all their background stories so much and doesn't even care whether they want them to be known to the whole world, so why lie about something like this. Made the whole experience of the book a little foul.
But if this book was good for one thing. I am grateful to have two lovely boys, a wonderful husband and a normal life. I wouldn't want to swap it for all the money and glamour in the world.
From the back cover:
"Here, at last, is the exquisitely personal story of a mother and daughter who sang like angels and fought like the devil - but loved each other through struggle, triumph, and tragedy.
For eight glorious years, Naomi Judd and daughter Wynonna lived the American dream. They were signed on the spot to RCA in 1983 in a rare live audition and went on to set the music world on its ear. Their pristine harmonies, unique personalities, and stunning presence captured mainstream America's heart.
The Judds were country music's most-honored and top-selling women. They were undefeated as Duet of the Year for eight years, picked up six Grammys, and won a vast array of other awards. In the U.S. alone, they sold over fifteen million albums and were the number one touring act in their industry for 1991.
They were on top of the world when Naomi made the shocking announcement that she was being forced to retire because of a life-threatening liver disease. Their Farewell Concert, televised on cable, was the most successful musical show in pay-per-view history. Their last song together broke America's heart and ended one of the most beloved acts of all time in country music.
Naomi spent the next two years in isolation, reliving her extraordinary life and career for these pages.
Love Can Build a Bridge is written with the same raw emotion and candor that made the Judds such electrifying performers. Funny, shocking, wise, inspiring, and vulnerable, this behind-the-scenes look into the Judds' private lives spares no one and nothing.
Love Can Build a Bridge is a soaring paean of what happens when a fairy tale and grim reality collide."