The Judds raise their voices one more time in honor of their pal Kenny Rogers Laura Roberts/Invision/AP
Laura Roberts/Invision/AP

Wynonna and Naomi Judd made a rare appearance together as the Judds this week to sing in honor of their hero and friend, Kenny Rogers. They were on the bill for his farewell tribute concert, “All in for the Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Final Concert Celebration” in Nashville Oct. 25, along with fellow superstars Reba McEntire, Chris Stapleton, Alison Krauss, Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton, Little Big Town and more.

The Judds teamed up for a performance of Kenny’s 2003 song, “Back to the Well,” and shared some heartwarming remembrances of working with Kenny over the years. The sold-out arena greeted the legendary duo with a standing ovation when they took the stage, but Wy and Naomi were quick to keep the focus on Kenny throughout their time onstage.

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We caught up with them before the show, and Wynonna told us about inviting Kenny to join her at a benefit concert a few years back. She was shocked and delighted when he accepted her invitation to perform.

Wy tells Rare Country, “He shows up. He waited 15 hours for these people to get it together. Never said a word to anyone. Never complained, and smiled the entire time and gave a show that is unbelievable. I don’t know people who do that, honestly. We get mad if our text doesn’t go through fast enough.”

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Naomi co-starred with Kenny in the 1993 CBS TV movie, “Rio Diablo,” and she has nothing but fond memories of working with him on that project.

“When you’re with somebody in Del Rio, Texas, where there’s scorpions and snakes and it’s 110 [degrees], you really get to see that person up close and personal,” Naomi says. “Let’s just say, he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. I don’t think people know that about him. He told me a dirty joke right before my big, dramatic scene, and I forgot my lines — wasn’t able to do it.”

During the tribute show, Wynonna also delivered a funky solo performance of Kenny’s late ’70s song, “You Turn the Light On.” Both mother and daughter were thrilled to be on hand for Kenny’s big night.


Naomi says, “We absolutely adore him. He’s a living legend. We’re thrilled to be part of this. We’re thrilled that we get to sing together one more time.”


How great is it to see the Judds together again? Here’s hoping we see more of them next year, perhaps at the Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

That’s right, the Judds are not yet members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, even though superstar artists like Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks, who both got their start opening up for the duo, are now members. Here’s hoping the Hall of Fame’s voting members get the Judds in there as soon as possible.

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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