April Jeppson: The Judds, reminiscing and making memories
Published 8:45 pm Friday, October 7, 2022
Every Little Thing by April Jeppson
Growing up we only had a few radio stations that came in clearly. So the music of my youth consisted of country, oldies and whatever cassette tapes my mother had. I can still clearly picture the photos on the front of the cases. Bob Seiger, Rod Stewert, Huey Lewis and the News… Rod had the coolest hair and the most gorgeous pink shirt. Now that I think of it, he may have subconsciously had an impact on my personal style. I may need to spend some time unpacking this newfound information on a different day.
My all time favorite group though was The Judds. I would play the “Rockin’ with the Rhythm” tape over and over. I recall one specific time when I was probably 8 years old and I was looking at the photo on the front trying to figure out which was the mother and which was the daughter. I was fascinated with their lipstick colors and jewelry. I would try and imagine which voice belonged to which singer. Today, my daughter could just pull up a YouTube video and all her questions would have been answered. I, on the other hand, spent hours day dreaming about what it would be like to see them perform.
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As a young girl I felt a connection with Wynonna. Her mother was gorgeous, just like mine. I love to sing, and she does, too. I thought, if they can travel the world singing together, maybe my mom and I can, too! How fun would that be? Putting on those fancy clothes, having someone do our hair and makeup — night after night of singing in front of an adoring crowd. This was my dream.
When I was about 10 I learned that the Judds were breaking up. How could this be? I never even had the chance to see them? I remember standing in the checkout line at Big Dollar, and I heard someone say that Wynonna was going to continue singing as a solo act. They didn’t seem to think that she could make it on her own. I was happy to hear that the music would continue, but angry that someone would dare talk that way to my beloved sister from another mister.
In 1992 my parents surprised me with tickets to see Wynonna at the Minnesota State Fair. Complete and utter disbelief and excitement that I would be sharing the same space with my musical hero. Soon after I joined her fan club. I had to fill out and mail in a form that was included inside the cassette tape. Can you imagine our kids today? Mailing something in and then waiting weeks to receive the first signs that the letter actually reached the intended destination?
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen Wynonna in concert — she puts on an incredible show. I missed my chance in 2000 to see The Judds and had come to terms with the fact that I would never see them perform together. So imagine my excitement when in 2010 my mom and I were fortunate enough to see them! At that moment in time, my life was complete.
Flash forward to today. After work I’m taking my 11-year-old daughter, and we’re driving to Sioux Falls to meet my mom and my aunt. I was talking to my mom on the phone this week about the upcoming Judds concert and we spontaneously decided to buy tickets and go. The dates for the concert were set before Naomi’s death, but her daughter decided to honor the dates and her mother by doing the tour. My daughter is the same age I was when I went to my first Wynonna concert. This is such a cool moment for me as a mom and as a fan. I know my daughter will enjoy it, but I can almost guarantee that she won’t be having as much fun tonight as I will be.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.