Naomi Judd‘s life was celebrated at the Ryman Auditorium with the CMT special Naomi Judd: A River of Time – Celebration.
The evening started with Naomi’s daughter Ashley Judd greeting the crowd at the Ryman, “Welcome to the mother church of country music. This is where mom wanted her public celebration to take place.”
Ashley also thanked the people that attended the celebration, “Thank you for being in community, and in fellowship with us…because we can pretend to care, but we cannot pretend to show up. So, thank you for showing up for our mom.”
Ashley big sister Wynonna then took the stage for the first performance of the evening – visibly emotional she first commented “How appropriate…the mother church.” Then Wynonna started with the song “River Of Time.”
Little Big Town was also at the Ryman to honor Naomi.
Before they sang The Judd‘s “Grandpa” LBT’s Karen Fairchild shared, “To Ashley, Wy and the whole family…our thoughts and prayers are with you. Your music has been the fabric of our lives, and Naomi, it will live with us forever. So, thank you for…it’s a great honor just to be on this stage with you all tonight.”
Emmylou Harris & Allison Russell performed “The Sweetest Gift” during the celebration.
Wynonna Judd was joined by Brandi Carlile on “The Rose”
Wynonna also performed “Love Can Build A Bridge”
During the evening Wynonna also shared with the audience at the Ryman and those watching at home that The Final Tour which is planned for the Fall will go on.
Wy said, “So, I made a decision…I’m gonna have to honor her and do this tour.”
The audience at the Ryman validated Wynonna’s choice with a explosion of applause at the announcement.
Wynonna added, “The show must go on…as hard as it may be.”
The final performance of The Judds also aired on CMT just over a month ago during the CMT Music Awards.
Photo Credit: Derrek Kupish