When I began my teenage country music career in Nashville a popular duet from Kentucky was making great waves in country and in mainstream American culture.
Hailing from the Appalachian foothills of Ashland, Ky., mother and daughter duo, The Judds, were first discovered by RCA label head Joe Galante in 1983 after landing a spot on WSM-TV’s “The Ralph Emery Show.” They made their chart debut by the end of the year with “Had A Dream (For The Heart),” and the two were on their way to a history-making career.
For the rest of the 1980’s, each single from The Judds released by RCA went to the Billboard Top 10, with 14 hits going all the way to number one. The Judds embarked on their “Farewell Tour” in 1991 after Naomi’s diagnosis of Hepatitis C forced her to retire from the road.
Wynonna launched a successful solo career with her self-titled 5x multi-platinum debut album while Naomi focused on her health, beating the disease, writing several New York Times best-selling books and becoming a popular motivational speaker.
The Grammy-winning country icon Naomi Judd is set to release the paperback version of her new book, “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope” on Dec. 5.
Judd shares her harrowing personal experience with the severe depression that almost killed her. That ride to success came to a screeching halt when Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and given only three years to live. Instead of accepting her fate, the former registered nurse educated herself and pursued healing. Today, Naomi is Hep C-free––a medically documented miracle.
Written with Marcia Wilkie, “River of Time” picks back up with Judd in 2010. From there, she dives into her three-and-a-half years of nightmares, hospitalizations, psychiatric wards, drug poisoning and addiction, electroconvulsive shock treatments, suicidal thoughts, and more. Raw and unflinchingly candid, the book serves beautifully not as a voyeuristic joyride, but as a generous confession and clarion call for others to fight on and reach out.
“I wrote it with the sincere hope of offering encouragement to the 40 million Americans who suffer from depression and anxiety every minute of every day and night,” Judd said. “I want them to know that I understand, and I’m here to help.”
Throughout, readers of “River of Time” will explore the effects of Judd’s traumatic childhood filled with abuse and generations of mental illness. Judd also opens up about the electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments that would ultimately bring her some long-sought relief, the strain that her illness brought her relationships with daughter Wynonna and husband Larry Strickland, the wisdom she received from friends and what others can do when suffering.
Judd’s tale is gripping, and while she offers it with the deft skill of a natural-born storyteller, what matters most is her message. “River of Time” is more than just a compelling read. For many, it could be a life-saving one.