Wynonna Judd Discusses the Emotional Impact of Performing ‘Love Can Build a Bridge’

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for CMT/ViacomCBS)

Wynonna and Naomi Judd were a force in country music. Their combined vocal prowess, the blood harmonies they sang, and Namoi’s songwriting made The Judds an iconic duo. Tracks like “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days),” “Mama He’s Crazy,” and many more have become country classics. After Namoi’s death, Wynonna says she looks at some of these songs differently. However, there’s one that stands affects her more deeply than the rest.

“Love Can Build a Bridge” is an important song in the history of The Judds. Naomi co-penned the song with Paul Overstreet and John Jarvis. It would go on to be the title track for the duo’s final album. It was a top-five hit.

The lyrics stress the importance of standing together in love. When it came out, many fans interpreted it as a farewell. At that time, Naomi’s Hepatitis C was forcing her to leave her legendary career behind to focus on her health. Now, the lyrics hit Wynonna Judd directly in the heart when she sings them live.

Recently, Wynonna Judd appeared on 20/20’s Road to the CMA Awards to talk about her mother’s passing, her tour, and grieving publicly. During that conversation, Wynonna opened up about “Love Can Build a Bridge.”

Wynonna Judd Finds Irony in “Love Can Build a Bridge”

“It’s going to be a shock to people that I feel her onstage, especially during the songs she’s written,” Wynonna Judd said. Then, she pointed to “Love Can Build a Bridge” as an example.

“She wrote it for the fans, she wrote it for the person without hope,” Wynonna Judd explained. “Singing it for the fans, your mother wrote it for them, and yet, it’s healing you. That’s ironic.”

The last time Wynonna Judd saw her mother, they were sharing the stage at the CMT Awards. That night, they performed “Love Can Build a Bridge” to an adoring audience. Many hoped that this was the beginning of a comeback for The Judds. The duo was weeks away from their long-deserved induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Additionally, they had just announced their Final Tour. The world was ready to hear more from the mother-daughter duo and it looked like they were ready to oblige.

That memory comes back every time Wynonna sings the song. “This song is life and death, for me. It’s a song that will forever be one of the most difficult days and one of the greatest days of my life. That was when we sang it for the last time at the CMT Awards.”

Take a moment to relieve The Judds’ final performance below. After all the years, Naomi and Wynonna could still harness the magic that made them legendary figures in country music.