Naomi Judd Obituary, Death – An article published in the New York Times in September 1985 lamented the collapse of the established stars of country music and the hackneyed “Nashville Sound.” However, assistance was already on the way at the time of the article’s publication. Why Not Me, the debut album released in 1984 by the mother and daughter pair known as the Judds, was at the top of the US country chart, had already racked up multiple millions of sales, and had already produced three number one country singles, including Why Not Me, Girls’ Night Out, and Love Is Alive.
Naomi Judd, who passed away at the age of 76 after battling depression and other mental illnesses, was ready to reclaim the top spot on the country chart with the follow-up album, Rockin’ With the Rhythm, which she recorded alongside her daughter Wynonna. Additionally, it would result in the production of three additional singles that would top the charts. The Judds were shocked when they learned that they had been nominated for “best new artist” at the Grammy Awards in 1985.
They were up against big pop performers like Cyndi Lauper and Frankie Goes to Hollywood for the honor. The Judds were not the only performers that released their first albums in 1986; a group of musicians known as the “New Traditionalists,” including Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, and Dwight Yoakam, all released records that year and helped revitalize Nashville at the time. However, the closeness of the Judds’ family unit endowed them with a unique quality. Both Naomi and Wynonna were familiar with the work of well-known country music sister acts such as the Delmore Brothers and the Everly Brothers, as well as swing-era trios such as the Boswell Sisters and the Andrews Sisters.
The mix was modified to sound more natural and organic by the Judds’ own voices. It was identifiable and commercially enticing thanks to the combination of Wynonna’s strong and bluesy tone with Naomi’s softer tone. Wynonna’s voice was forceful. The Judds were a logical addition to country’s history of fierce female singers like Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette. Their music combined elements of bluegrass, folk, early rock and roll, and even a little bit of bebop, and their lyrics typically empathized with the hardships of small-town, working-class women.