The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will take a fresh look at the story of The Judds—mother Naomi and daughter Wynonna—using rare artifacts, original manuscripts, unpublished photos and keepsake costumes in an exhibit titled The Judds: Dream Chasers. The exhibit opens Aug. 10, 2018 and continues through July 14, 2019.
The exhibit will follow the popular duo from their mother-and-child beginnings as Diana Judd and daughter Christina Ciminella to their chart-topping career peak as one of the most successful duos in country music history. In the Eighties and early Nineties, The Judds scored twenty Top Ten hits, including fourteen No. 1s. They were popular with their industry peers, too, winning five GRAMMY®, nine CMA and seven ACM awards.
According to museum CEO Kyle Young, “Country music hall of fame member Tom T. Hall, who hailed from The Judds’ home territory of eastern Kentucky, sang, ‘It’s a million miles to the city, from the hills and the valleys we know/ It’s a million miles to the city, and someday we all want to go.’ This is a million-mile story, told with heart and soul, about a miraculous, fortunate, and harmonious journey.”
The Judds’ music is characterized by distinctive harmonies and Wynonna’s powerful lead voice, offered in a spare, acoustic accompaniment that incorporates elements of traditional folk, blues and family harmony. Their songs feature themes of family, love, longing, independence, and spirituality. In collaboration with producer Brent Maher and guitarist Don Potter, The Judds created a sound that was simultaneously traditional and groundbreaking.
“The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is sacred ground, regarded with reverence and respect,” said Naomi Judd. “I am so overjoyed to have The Judds’ career encapsulated in this new exhibit. I’m so proud of all the success Wynonna has accomplished and we owe everything to the fans who welcomed The Judds music into their homes.”
“I am truly humbled and grateful to partner with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to honor The Judds’ legacy and relive some of the special moments we shared with our fans,” added Wynonna Judd. “What an honor.”
Among the artifacts featured in The Judds: Dream Chasers are:
-Velvet jacket embellished with bugle beading and sequins, worn by Wynonna Judd on The Judds’ farewell concert in December 1991. The concert was taped for a television special broadcast a week later
-Lyrics to the song released by The Judds as “Rockin’ with the Rhythm of the Rain,” handwritten by Don Schlitz, who co-wrote the song with Brent Maher. The song went to #1 and appeared on The Judds’ second album, Rockin’ with the Rhythm (1985).
-1996 Gibson Custom Shop ES-336 electric guitar used by Wynonna Judd in her solo concerts
-Nurse’s uniform worn by Naomi Judd when she worked as a registered nurse
-Certificate presented to seventeen-year-old Naomi Judd for her volunteer work as a Candy Striper at King’s Daughters Hospital in Ashland, Kentucky
-Hohner harmonicas and cigar box owned by Naomi Judd, who began playing harmonica in the 1970s
-Note to Santa Claus, written by Naomi Judd and her siblings when they were children.
Music industry awards:
GRAMMY®, for Best Country Song (1991) for “Love Can Build a Bridge,” presented to songwriters John Jarvis, Naomi Judd, and Paul Overstreet CMA Horizon Award presented to The Judds in 1984 ACM Top Vocal Duet Award presented to The Judds in 1990
-Silk jacket embellished with beaded stars and worn by Wynonna Judd at the 1991 ACM Awards
-Kaat Tilley gown worn by Naomi Judd during The Judds’ nine-show residency in Las Vegas, October 2015
-The Judds’ exhibition joins several new 2018 exhibitions including American Currents: The Music of 2017, Outlaws and Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s, Little Big Town: The Power of Four, Ralph Stanley: Voices from on High, and an upcoming exhibit featuring Emmylou Harris (opening October 2, 2018).
For more information about this exhibition, visit www.countrymusichalloffame.org.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.