Wynonna Judd Posts Emotional Tribute to Her ‘Shero’ Joni Mitchell After Joining Her Onstage

by Alex Falls

Wynonna Judd took to her Instagram to mark a monumental moment in the history of country music. Legendary folk singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell made an emotional return to the stage this week.

On Sunday night, Mitchell, 78, stunned attendees of the Newport Folk Festival when she performed in public for the first time since her 2015 brain aneurysm. She played her first full-length live set since 2000. Judd was on hand at the festival as a performer, but she was also one of the biggest fans in the house that night when she got to share the stage with her idol.

“I feel so many emotions writing this note today! I feel so broken and blessed these days, so getting the chance to be a small part of the weekend at @newportfolkfest has been so very healing. My dearest @brandicarlile, you have been such a blessing to me. Traveling to Newport and getting to spend personal time with @jonimitchell was, for me, THE chance of a lifetime!!!!” Judd wrote in her emotional post.

She continued by saying, “I have loved Joni since age 9, when I learned my very first song, “Both Sides Now” and sang it at my 8th grade graduation. (See last photo!) Fast forward to 2022, getting to sit onstage with my shero and sing background vocals… What a full circle moment. You helped make my little girl dreams come true! I will never forget this weekend at Newport & I thank you for inviting me to witness such an important part of Joni’s HERSTORY. WHAT A CELEBRATION!!!!! Let’s DUET again!!!!!!!!!!”

Female Folk Heros Remember Mitchell

The Newport Folk Festival celebrated folk and country music both modern and classic. Joni Mitchell shared the stage with many artists who call her an influence. Including Brandi Carlile who acted as master of ceremonies for Mitchell’s surprise performance.

After the performance, Carlile spoke to CBS News about the special moment. The performance was scheduled under the same “Brandie Carlile and Friends” because no one was sure if Mitchell would be able to perform. But Carlile held out hope to see the icon gather the strength to play.

“I dreamed it,” Carlile said. “The first time she opened her mouth and sang ‘Summertime’ and I saw Herbie Hancock burst into tears and everybody in the room catch their breath because she had decided to sing, really decided to sing, you know, I knew. I knew she’d do it at Newport. I can’t really say how I knew it. I just pictured her out there.”

Mitchell had to teach herself to play guitar and sing again after nearly dying from an aneurysm. But the folk legend found the strength and dazzled everyone in attendance that night. Judd and Carlile had their dreams fulfilled that night. Carlile said of the experience, “Joni hasn’t always felt the appreciation that exists amongst humanity for her. But I wanted her to feel that.”