Released earlier this year, Wynonna Judd & the Big Noise is the eighth and perhaps most daring album of its namesake. With over three decades behind her, including multiple Grammy wins, world tours and universal success both as a solo artist and as the other half of the legendary country duo The Judds, Wynonna Judd’s status as an icon of the genre has long been assured. Though not unlike the music itself, Judd’s path hasn’t been without its troubles and heartaches.

Judd recently spoke with Jonathan Dick from about the new music and her renewed sense of purpose in this candid interview.

Paste : This album is really special for you for a number of reasons. What was your perspective going in?
Judd: That’s a great question, my dear. You’re right, I’m coming out of an incredibly large challenging time in my life having done what I’ve done and accomplished what I’ve accomplished. Lots of failure in the mix, which is what I’ve learned more from, actually. Truthfully, I can break it down to you real simply. It’s so personal between Cactus and I, what we have been through together. Most of the time, artists go in with marketing first and then they try to fulfill people’s expectations. They try to market before they make the product. It was the exact opposite for us. Cactus and I were staying at a hotel in Coronado. I’m really terrified of the ocean. I had an experience as a child where I almost drowned and I didn’t know which way was up, and I was just really scared. We were out there having a romantic evening after a date night, and he literally took me by the hand and he said, “Do you trust me?” I said, “Yes I do.” I’ve known this man since I was 20, and I’ve loved him ever since.

Thirty years later, we began dating again, having run into each other during transitions in both our lives. But we were on this date night. He took me into the ocean. I was terrified. I’m talking little girl, chatter teeth, the whole thing. He said, “Hold on.” I’m telling you, that became a metaphor for our experience together musically. He took me in, the water got up to my chin, and then the wave came and totally drenched us both. I was terrified. It was dark. But I remember that moment like it was our wedding day. I just remember me holding on to him. I’ve never felt that trust with anyone. That’s how our love affair began.

Paste : There’s a different kind of earnestness in the music as well.
Judd: It’s a different place. I’m 51. It’s a big difference from 30. Trust me.

Paste : Were you more retrospective with this record as far as looking back and seeing those obstacles, the failures and successes?
Judd: It was present. I think there were moments when I would be walking back up to the house from the studio going, “God, it’s been a long journey.” There were some really cool moments where I was just like, you know what? Everything I’ve ever done is preparing me for this moment in this time in this heartbeat in this breath. I’m living as fully as I’ve ever lived in my life. There’s a lot of responsibility in that. As free as you are, there’s a lot of responsibility.
To read the rest of the interview click here for Paste Magazine.