NEW YORK – Wynonna Judd's (search) story is hidden in a few words at the end of the thank yous in the CD booklet of her new record, "What the World Needs Now Is Love." She writes to the hopeless, among whom she once counted herself: "To anyone who is about to give up their dreams - if you do, the devil is going to throw a party in your honor."
She started the album having a crisis of faith in herself and her ability. By the time she wrapped these 14 songs, she was a performer reborn with the best album of her career.
Defying any single category, Wynonna rocks, twangs and croons ballads.
Despite its healing-power-of-love theme, there's none of the girly goo that would make you gag with sugar overload.
The title-track opener maps the eclecticism of the other songs, begining with a simply plucked banjo lead that eventually yields to soaring electric guitar, slows to a ballad and ultimately rocks. And it works.
Wynonna's best here is "Flies On the Butter (You Can't Go Home Again)," with Wynonna and her mom, Naomi Judd, reprising those Judds' harmonies. It's a down-home song where lyrics like "Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter, a hole in the screen as big as your fist, and flies on the butter" create a sense of place and a time past.
Emotionally, "Sometimes I Feel Like Elvis" is a powerful song - saying you can have everything but it's meaningless without love. To offset the seriousness of "Sometimes I Feel Like Elvis," for the next selection Wynonna cleverly covers "Burnin' Love."
This is a no-risk disc by a performer who was on a skid, but found the breaks.