Lainey Wilson wouldn’t pass up a chance to be a part of A Tribute to The Judds, the star-studded album dropping this Friday, October 27.
“They were The Judds,” Wilson, 31, tells Us Weekly when taking a moment to talk about her involvement in the celebration of Naomi and Wynonna Judds‘ legacy while discussing her partnership with Lone River Ranch Water. “I mean, they were the soundtrack of my childhood,” said Wilson. “I remember going to my [grandmother’s] house. She’d pick me and my sister up to go eat, and we would crank up the Judds.”
“It is just crazy to think that I’m getting to honor them with Ms. Dolly Parton — who’s also a huge influence of mine,” Wilson tells Us. “And, it’s kind of crazy how both of those worlds collided and the stars aligned for me to be able to do a song [“Mama He’s Crazy”] with Dolly for The Judds.”
Wilson adds that Wynonna now texts her “every now and then.” When asked what Wynonna last texted her, the “Heart Like a Truck” singer shared a full-circle moment, harkening back to when she was a little girl singing along to the Judds in her grandmother’s car. “I think it was actually a video of her listening to ‘Watermelon Moonshine’ going down the road.”
“I think her and her husband were headed somewhere, and it came on the radio,” continues Wilson, “and [Wynonna] videoed it and said, ‘my girl!’ or something like that. I played it to my boyfriend right there next to me. I said, ‘Can you believe Wynonna Judd just texted me a song of mine on the radio?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, well, get used to it.’”
Wilson’s starstruck feelings hide a greater reverence for Wynonna and her mother, Naomi Judd who died by suicide in 2022. Wilson told Us that Wynonna has become a mentor to her, and A Tribute to The Judds was a way to express her gratitude.
“The truth is, it’s really, really special to be able to do ‘Mama He’s Crazy.’ I’ve gotten to know Wynonna over the last couple of months, and she’s been one of those ladies who has given me advice, high-fived me and told me I could do it. [She’s] told me I’ve got what it takes to do it. And when you hear it from people like that, it really does make you feel like you really can do it.”
Wilson will undoubtedly go for it when she starts her Country’s Cool Again tour in May 2024. Nearly two weeks after telling Us Weekly why she thought “country music is cooler than it’s ever been,” she announced her 2024 tour with Ian Munsick, Jackson Dean and Zach Top. “Join the Wild Horses at http://laineywilson.com to get exclusive access to #CountrysCoolAgain tour presale tickets & VIP packages starting Monday, 10/23,” she tweeted on October 20.
Wilson’s love for Dolly Parton is well-known, and she told Us she would gladly sing “Happy Birthday” with the county icon if it meant spending more time with her idol. “I’d be like, let’s collab girl. Let’s sing ‘Ring Around the Rosie.’ I don’t care,” Wilson says with a laugh.
Like many, Wilson adheres to the phrase, “What Would Dolly Do?” which has been spun off into its own Apple Music radio in the lead-up to Parton’s upcoming Rockstar album.
“I think it’s always in the back of my mind [‘What Would Dolly Do?’],” says Wilson. “[Dolly] deals with things with humor. I have questions thrown at me all day about things that I could let offend me, or I could kind of turn it into a joke. And I think that Dolly does that.”
“She tells it like it is with a little bow wrapped on top,” adds Wilson. “So, no matter what, I’m always channeling, ‘how would she say this? What would she do?’ I think the way that she handles herself, she carries herself with grace and poise, but also she don’t take no you-know-what.”
A Tribute to The Judds arrives on October 27 via BMG. In addition to Parton and Wilson’s version of “Mama He’s Crazy,” the album features Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton (“Love Is Alive”), LeAnn Rimes (“Have Mercy”), Trisha Yearwood (“Cry Myself To Sleep“), Jelly Roll (“Love Can Build A Bridge”) and more.