A Tribute to The Judds

Track Listing

  1. Girls Night Out - Reba McEntire, Carly Pearce, Jennifer Nettles, Gabby Barrett
  2. Mama He's Crazy - Lainey Wilson and Dolly Parton
  3. Why Not Me - Megan Moroney
  4. Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days) [feat. Sonya Isaacs] - Cody Johnson
  5. Rockin' With The Rhythm Of The Rain - Ashley McBryde and Shelly Fairchild
  6. Young Love (Strong Love) - Ella Langley and Jamey Johnson
  7. Have Mercy - LeAnn Rimes
  8. Love Is Alive - Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton
  9. Had A Dream (For The Heart) - Wendy Moten and O.N.E The Duo
  10. I Know Where I'm Going - Barnett, Lynne & West
  11. Let Me Tell You About Love - Carl Perkins and Raul Malo
  12. John Deere Tractor - Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley and Molly Tuttle
  13. Cry Myself To Sleep - Wynonna and Trisha Yearwood
  14. Love Can Build A Bridge - Jelly Roll, K. Michelle, and The Fisk Jubilee Singers

Love Can Build a Bridge and a Record

A Tribute To The Judds is a loving homage to the timeless music of the legendary mother/daughter duo. Following the passing of Naomi Judd on April 30, 2022, the 14 songs were crafted with love by members of the duo’s original creative team that introduced The Judds to the world 40 years ago, with the help of artists from multiple genres who interpreted The Judds’ most popular hits for a new generation of music enthusiasts.

A portion of the compilation benefits NAMI Tennessee, the state chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental illness), in honor of Naomi Judd, who struggled with and succumbed to the disease the day before she and Wynonna were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

A Tribute To The Judds is a joy-filled celebration of the groundbreaking duo and their undeniable impact on popular music.

Signed to RCA Nashville in 1983, by Joe Galante – who served as an executive producer on the project – The Judds released 6 multi-Platinum studio albums selling more than 20 million copies. They won 5 Grammys, 9 CMA Awards, 8 ACM trophies, and reached No. 1 14 times – a record for a female duo in Country music.

Releasing on Oct. 27 by BMG, six-time Grammy winner Brent Maher, The Judds’ longtime producer and hit songwriter, produced 13 of the songs, while “Cry Myself To Sleep,” a breathtaking duet with Wynonna and Trisha Yearwood, was produced by Wynonna’s spouse and four-time CMA award winner Cactus Moser.

“From the get-go, that was the song Wynonna wanted to do for the record and she wanted Trisha to sing it with her,” explained executive producer and veteran A&R leader Reneé Bell. “Two of the best singers ever in our genre, and they are singing together.”

The thoughtfully curated compilation remains true to the original recordings with performances by superstars and emerging artists from musical formats that influenced the duo’s harmony-driven sound, which embraced Country roots, soul, and pop.

The label and production team worked closely on the artist and song selections. “We had a dream list that covered all genres,” Bell offered. “And we wanted to showcase new artists because those artists are bringing in a new generation to learn about The Judds’ music, their songs, and how timeless they are.”

Driven by strong vocals, A Tribute To The Judds features potent collaborations including “Love Is Alive,” with Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, and the eagerly anticipated cover of “Mama He’s Crazy” – The Judds first No. 1 -- by Lainey Wilson and Dolly Parton. Cody Johnson performed “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days)” featuring Sonya Isaacs, while Jelly Roll, K. Michelle and The Fisk Jubilee Singers brought to life “Love Can Build A Bridge.” Jamey Johnson and Ella Langley beautifully tackled “Young Love (Strong Love).” Ashley McBryde and Shelly Fairchild nailed “Rockin’ With The Rhythm Of The Rain.” LeAnn Rimes deftly handled “Have Mercy.” Mandy Barnett, Shelby Lynne, and Emily West soared on “I Know Where I’m Going.”

“I had high expectations with all these songs. Recreating these tracks, working with all these different singers, it was one of the best records I’ve ever been part of making as a record producer,” said Maher.

The album opens with the anthemic “Girls Night Out” with Reba McEntire leading a multi-generational ensemble of female artists including Carly Pearce, Jennifer Nettles, and Gabby Barrett. “When Reba came into the studio, she was saying, ‘It’s an honor to be here. I love Naomi. She was a great friend and it’s an honor to be on this record,” explained Bell.

Everyone from peers to artists who were childhood mega-fans felt the same.

Megan Moroney’s feisty reaction to “Why Not Me” was, “This is so my brand!” Raul Malo joined Carl Perkins on a cover of “Let Me Tell You About Love,” which was written by Paul Kennerley, Maher, and Perkins, who played on the original track.

Then two songs were picked for reasons other than chart success. “Those songs were a huge part of The Judds becoming The Judds,” Maher offered. “John Deere Tractor,” performed by Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley and Molly Tuttle, was the first song The Judds played for Maher. “Had A Dream (For The Heart),” performed by Wendy Moten and O.N.E The Duo, wasn’t a No. 1, but it was The Judds first single and paved the way for the chart-topping “Mama He’s Crazy.”

The musicians were equally enthusiastic about the project. For the refreshed tracks, lauded studio musicians Richard Bennett on electric guitar, Russ Paul on steel, and Glenn Worf on bass joined Maher’s “Big Three” Bobby Ogdin on keys, Eddie Bayers on drums, and Don Potter, whose acoustic guitar playing became the cornerstone of The Judd’s signature sound.

Recorded at Blackbird Studios, where the original songs were cut was bittersweet, yet the band was back together and found joy breathing new life into these timeless songs.

“When Naomi delivered something, you could feel the sincerity and the emotion behind it,” Galante continued. “She had that ability to look right at you and into you. And you felt everything that she was saying to you. And she had that smile. That smile would show up and disarm you on a regular basis.”

Galante was in Los Angeles in the early ‘80s at the Le Parc hotel when a business associate, Dick Whitehouse from Curb, casually mentioned he was working with a mother/daughter duo.

After Galante listened to a “crappy work tape,” The Judds, Whitehouse, and Maher were in Galante’s office the next week. “We did our little pleasantries and they proceeded to sing, and the moment Wy opened her mouth, I looked at this kid at 16-years-old – she still had braces – and thought, ‘How is this possible?’ And then the harmonies came in.”

Country music is a family format and Galante felt The Judds filled a void. He released a six-sided mini-LP for $5.98 and followed in October 1984 with Why Not Me, which sold 2 million copies and notched three No. 1 singles in a year.

“We went with the hits,” Galante chuckled. “Those were ‘one-listen records. Every time we came out with a single it carved a new part of their musical legacy. They were unique and they became iconic.”

“For these songs to be heard again, I honestly believe we have songs that could be nominated for Song of the Year again, Single of the Year, I think we could have Album of the Year,” Bell said. “I think the album is that strong because these songs are timeless.”

“It’s wholly possible when people hear this record that there may be an emergence of appreciation from the younger generation,” added Maher.

“You listen to those songs, and they hold up,” Galante remarked. “Here we are 40 years later, and they are still sound unbelievable. There’s no age on them and that is the hallmark of an iconic, legendary song. And they made a lot of them.

“…It was always the music. It came back to the music.”