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Wynonna on her way to The Hunter

Wynonna Judd will perform at CMC Rocks the Hunter on Sunday.
Wynonna Judd will perform at CMC Rocks the Hunter on Sunday.

AMERICAN country music singer Wynonna Judd is set to sparkle in her one-off Australian show this weekend.

And it might have something to do with all those rhinestones she packed in her suitcase.

The five-time Grammy winner is in the country to perform exclusively at the annual CMC Rocks the Hunter country music festival on Sunday.

As someone who's been from "the Opry to Oprah", not to mention sold more than 30 million albums, Judd is never shy of a story to tell.

In this Q&A she shares a few of them with veteran radio host Trevor Smith.

Q: How do you feel about your instrument that you've been blessed with?

A: I was born on a mountaintop in Kentucky with no TV, no telephone and I had a guitar. So I was blessed with the fact that I had to resort to my own creativity, which means you don't need an iPad, an iPhone or a computer. You just have a God-given gift, which everyone has. I just learned how to use it because I didn't have distractions. I didn't have things pulling me away from music.

Q: When you're on stage in Australia, what will the set comprise of roughly?

A: I'm such a work in progress, not least because I never know what I'm going to do on stage - and that's the beauty of live. That's why I say there will always need to be movies and theatres and the live performance because something remarkable happens between the singer and the listener. That live thing where you come on stage and everything's uncertain and there's that raw, unpredictability and you just feel like you're flying. It's the closest thing to flying I've ever experienced.

You're gonna hear classic music from the past - from the '80s and '90s when Mom and I were playing all over the place, being "America's sweethearts", I think they call us at the time. You're gonna hear that, and you're gonna hear the song I did with Jeff Beck - I Wanna Know What Love Is - the rock classic. Then I'm gonna turn around and sing some kind of poetry that the Baby Boomers will identify with, because I just finished a record of all classics because we're losing our legends in country music.

Q: We've got a saying down here. Whenever there's a problem, at the end of the day, "she'll be right". Whatever happens, it'll be okay. She'll be right. Do you relate to that, especially after your health scares in 2010?

A: I'm such a survivor, that fits right into where I'm at in my life. I've seriously been on Oprah eighteen times. I'm one of the most invited guests on her show, because I have all these sayings. I'm like you, I have these things that I live by. I actually have them on my mirror. Affirmations, I call them. Like, you know what, are you gonna be better or bitter for something. To me, I've come through so much crap. I've been through so much. If you read my story, it's like "How in the world did she make it?". I just have such a determination to show up and wait for a miracle to happen. I have such an ability to go "You know what… suit up and show up. Don't leave before the miracle happens". If you want your miracle, then you have to get there.

Q: Why is it do you think you made such a deep and meaningful connection with Oprah?

A:  Because I'm such a work in progress. I haven't arrived to that place where I can just sit back and say "I've got $10 million in the bank. I'm just gonna do things because I've got nothing better to do". I am always on some kind of adventure. I think she really enjoys talking to me about it. The last time I did her show, one of my proudest moments with her, she actually leaned into me and said "I just learned something from you". She said "I'm gonna use this in my next meeting". And I got the biggest kick out of that, because I thought here's Oprah - who I've known for 25 years, before the big time - and to me she's just a girl from the South and I knew her from being here in Nashville. So she's a friend. I didn't see her as Oprah, the icon. I just see her as a working woman who really connects with the people. So to me, I think it's because I am so uncertain about what's next. I never know from one year to the next. Does that make sense? There's no formula, there's no manual.

Q: Martina McBride just released a song called Teenage Daughters. What's your take on teenage daughters?

A: I can tell you this, my friend. I spend a lot of time on my knees. I am some day gonna write a book about all the things not to do. I think it's one of the hardest jobs I'll ever love. It is the most rewarding, sweet, tender moment and then it can go straight to hell in 30 seconds. I'm very serious. You never know what you're gonna get, walking through that door. I think I'll call the book "Paybacks are Hell". I've lived it and she's just like me, only she has a louder voice and more of an idea of how to get away with things at a much earlier age than I did. At least at 15 I still feared my mother. Cause I know I'd be on the ground if I said the things that she tried to say and get away with. I won't let her have the internet because of that. Most people look at me like I'm from another country, like Little House on the Prairie back in the 1800s or something, because she doesn't have a phone or a computer.

CMC Rocks the Hunter plays the Hope Estate Winery in Pokolbin, NSW tomorrow through Sunday. 

Topics:  cmc rocks the hunter


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