Country music prides itself on good storytelling, so it’s fitting that Wynonna and her band The Big Noise take time out each year to celebrate one of mankind’s best-known reflections. The “Rockin’ Roots Christmas” show, performed December 12th at the Mystic Showroom included their countrified versions of some Christmas classics as well as a few of Wynonna’s biggest hits and popular cover tunes.
Mystic Lake once again offered up a first-rate concert experience in their dedicated performance theater with professional lighting and great sound. The spirit of the season was immediately felt walking into the venue with a festive stage setup including Christmas trees, decorative presents, candles lining the stage front, lamps providing soft light on homey end tables and three illuminated letters describing the evenings message “Joy”. Wynonna’s look was on-point as always: hair a vibrant shade of red enhanced with sparkles, make-up applied to perfection, fancy black fringy outfit, barefoot with French pedicure and her most functional accessory – a white acoustic Gibson.
“I’ve been coming here for years and you’re still here – thank you!” Wynonna seemed genuinely gracious and utilized every opportunity to interact with her appreciative fans, who were not shy about randomly shouting out phrases of adoration. “You’re my family of choice and I spend more time every year with you than I do my own family of “chance”. Her loving banter with drummer and husband “Cactus” Moser also kept the mood light and was entertaining.
Some of the evenings musical standouts included “Mary Did You Know”, the duet she recorded with Kenny Rogers that she called out as one of her favorite experiences as a singer. “Joy to the World”, which was a testament to the band’s skill and versatility with an edgy Rockabilly feel. An acoustic moment was assembled for “Little Town of Bethlehem” that was livened up with banjo, mandolin, stand-up bass and slide guitar. The Judd’s classic “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)” implored the night’s best audience sing-along the happened organically. “White Christmas”, which was especially pretty and seemed to have the most meaning for Wynonna “It’s just not Christmas to me until I hear this song.” And finally, an encouraging audience request for an encore was rewarded with a touching guitar and voice only rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.
Review and photos by Patrick Dunn