Naomi Judd describes overcoming depression in her new book

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.

For more information, follow Naomi Judd on Facebook or visit


Take down the fiddle and bow – Grand Master Fiddler – a great show

Fiddling rang out from the Henry Ford Theater stage at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for two days recently welcoming fiddlers of all ages and styles which represent a cornucopia of American musical experience.

The 46th Annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship continued its great legacy began by the Grand Ole Opry with fiddlers from across the U.S. competing for thousands in cash and prizes and an opportunity to appear on the Grand Ole Opry. The contest which was once just a focus for the top contest style fiddlers now boasts three distinct categories – Traditional, Youth and an Open category.

Mia Orosco competes.

The traditional category allows fiddlers sharing Cajun, Irish, Scottish, Southern Appalachian, bluegrass and Ozark influences among the mix.

Youth category sets aside a special place for youth fiddlers to be rated and grow in their talents, with many often nearing the competition level of the adults.

Finally, the open category is all ages who wish to stand toe to toe with America’s best fiddlers performing the classic Texas style contest fiddling to make their mark as the official Grand Master following in the path of fiddlers such as Mark O’Connor, Jimmy Mattingly, Dan Kelly and last year’s winner Maddie Denton.

I was privileged to mark my tenth-year walking in the footsteps of Roy Acuff and Porter Wagoner as celebrity host of the Grand Master Fiddler Championship, now settled in at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum annually on Labor Day weekend joined by emcees Kevin Mudd and Craig Havighurst.

Randall Franks

My association began with the event when I first competed in the competition as a teen and later served as a Grand Ole Opry guest entertainer at the event.

The late Dr. Perry Harris forged the creation of the contest with the backing of legendary Opry figures including Roy Acuff. Each year an award is given in his honor – this year Grammy © winner and champion fiddler Larry Franklin of the Time Jumpers and formally of Asleep at the Wheel was honored for his work in support of the traditional art of fiddling.

Howard Harris and Ed Carnes continue the tradition of making the event a success with the support of a board of directors.

As part of the event weekend Grand Ole Opry stars the Riders in the Sky and Mike Snider appeared and last year’s winners Maddie Denton and Ivy Phillips made their Grand Ole Opry appearances.

The Grand Master Youth Champion is Benjamin Lin of Lexington, Ky., the Grand Master Traditional Champion is Tyler Andal of Nashville, Tenn. Both won $300, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry.

The Grand Master Fiddler for 2017 is Mia Orosco of Woodway, Texas who took home $1,200 in cash, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry.

Congratulations to all the competitors and thanks to Howard and Ed for working so hard to keep the tradition growing!

Grand Master Fiddler Champion Mia Orosco (third from left) of Woodway, Texas receives her trophy, from left, GMFC Host Randall Franks, GMFC Director Ed Carnes, and GMFC Director Howard Harris. GMFC Photo by Susan Harris

Wanda Jackson, rockin’ her story into print

Legendary rockabilly and country music pioneer Wanda Jackson will see her new autobiography Every Night Is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame released by BMG on Nov. 14.

Known as the “Queen of Rockabilly” and the “First Lady of Rock & Roll,” she landed more than thirty singles on the country and pop charts between 1954 and 1974. Featuring over eighty photographs from her personal collection and a foreword by Elvis Costello, Every Night is Saturday Night is the rockin’ great-grandmother’s chance to finally share the story of her fascinating life and career in her own words.

Jackson’s debut single, “You Can’t Have My Love,” reached the Top 10 while she was still a sixteen-year-old high school student. She hit the road after graduation, playing package shows with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley, who gave Wanda his ring and asked her to be “his girl.” With Presley’s encouragement, the Oklahoma native began recording rock music, often releasing singles with country on one side and rock on the other during her decade-and-a-half tenure on Capitol Records.

Her energetic stage shows and pioneering presence as a female artist helped Wanda storm the charts with a series of hit singles, including “Let’s Have a Party,” “Right or Wrong,” and “In the Middle of a Heartache.” With over 40 albums to her credit, Wanda has proven to be an enduring and genre-defying legend of American music.

In Every Night is Saturday Night, Wanda tells the story of being discovered by Country Music Hall of Famer Hank Thompson; and why she refused to return to the Grand Ole Opry for more than fifty years,

She also shares the challenges she and her integrated band, The Party Timers, faced when touring in a less racially tolerant era and opens up on her personal memories of her relationship with Elvis; and how she ultimately found the love of her life.

Along the way, Wanda reveals details about her first boyfriend, who went on to become a well-known pioneer of country music’s Bakersfield Sound; how she launched the career of country star Roy Clark; the challenges she faced as a woman who introduced sex appeal to country music and growling femininity to rock & roll; her recent work with rock luminaries such as Jack White and Joan Jett; and how her deep faith has sustained her over more than seven decades of rocking, shocking, and thrilling audiences around the globe.

Wanda will launch the book with several public events and book signings around its release, including Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles and Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.

Lee Greenwood, a point of light

When I started my crossover career into country music in the 1980s, one of the shining stars was Lee Greenwood. He is still being recognized as a Point of Light.

The Grammy®-winning artist was honored with the Point of Light Award. created by the administration of President George H. W. Bush, the Daily Point of Light Award honors individuals and groups creating meaningful change in communities across America.

Greenwood, who was recently named one of Billboard’s 100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time, has done over 30 tours with the USO and is an ambassador for non-profit organization, Help A Hero. Despite his great musical success, Greenwood says he is most proud of what he can give back to his country and those who have served.

“I count it a privilege to be in a position to brighten a veteran’s day or help unite the country after a tragedy like 9-11 and I am honored to be named as a Daily Point of Light by our beloved president, George H.W. Bush,” he said. “Knowing that this award is the largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, I consider this to be one of my most prestigious honors.”

Greenwood was presented the Points of Light Award in August by the Chairman of Helping a Hero, Chris Daniel. Points of Light works in partnership with companies, foundations, government agencies and nonprofits to achieve the greatest impact.

“Lee inspires me and I still get goosebumps every time I hear him sing or watch him present the keys to a specially adapted home to one of our wounded warriors,” said Meredith Iler, Chairman Emeritus of Helping a Hero. “It was an honor to nominate Lee for the Daily Point of Light award and to surprise him with the Daily Point of Light Award alongside dozens of wounded warriors who love and respect him.”

Helping a Hero is a non-profit, founded in 2006, that provides support for military personnel severely injured in the war on terror. Their principal activity is to provide specially adapted homes for qualifying service members through partnerships made with the builders, developers, communities, and the veteran. To learn more, or to donate, visit

Throughout his expansive career, international country music icon Lee has earned multiple CMA and ACM Awards, a Grammy Award for Top Male Vocal Performance on “I.O.U,” in 1985, and a multitude of other prestigious award nominations. His discography includes twenty-two studio albums, seven compilation albums, seven No. 1 hits and thirty-eight singles including songs like “It Turns Me Inside Out,” “Ring on Her Finger Time on Her Hand,” “She’s Lyin,” “I don’t Mind the Thorns if You’re the Rose,” “Dixie Road,” “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,” “Going Going Gone,” “You Got a Good Love Comin,” among others. His stand-out hit “God Bless the U.S.A.” has been in the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001 and 2003), giving it the distinction of being the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat.

His latest book release is a children’s book called “Proud To Be An American,” which is currently available in stores, on Amazon and

Lee Greenwood continues to spread his patriotism through his current tour across America. For more information on Lee Greenwood, please visit and follow him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram..