Austin City Limits was surprised and saddened to learn of the death of Naomi Judd, one half of the superstar country act the Judds. She passed away on April 30, a day before the Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and just after announcing a final tour. No official cause of death was given.
With her daughter Wynonna, Naomi scored six gold and platinum albums and fourteen #1 singles on the country charts during the late eighties and early nineties, becoming one of the most successful C&W duos of all time. The Judds appeared on Austin City Limits only once, in the tenth anniversary season, fresh off the success of their debut album Why Not Me. But the family’s Austin experience goes deeper than that. As a single mom, Naomi moved her daughters to the city in 1974, at the peak of the progressive country movement and right as the seeds for ACL had been planted, becoming friends with Asleep at the Wheel and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. This was their introduction to country music, so their appearance on ACL a decade later was more than just the introduction of the next superstar act – it was the closing of a circle.
Our hearts go out to Wynonna and Ashley Judd during this difficult time. As we say goodbye, we present the Judds opening their ACL segment with their joyous, celebratory #1 hit “Girls’ Night Out.”