Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd honoured their late mother Naomi Judd during a televised memorial concert on Sunday.
The actress opened Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration, which was broadcast on CMT, by delivering a eulogy to her mother, who died on 30 April aged 76, onstage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
“Welcome to the mother church of country music, this is where mom wanted her public celebration to take place and thank you for being in community and in fellowship with us,” Ashley told the audience. “Because we can pretend to care, but we cannot pretend to show up. Thank you for showing up for our mom.”
After giving a quick overview of her mother’s life, she grew emotional as she said, “The result is that we are here tonight remembering an icon and legend who left country music better than she found it. Since the 30th of April, we have been remembering the complex and dynamic life of our mother and story. She was every woman, perhaps, this is why everyone felt they knew her.
“She was Mamaw to her grandchildren, Elijah and Grace, and to my chosen family, and she was totally extraordinary. The five-time Grammy Award winner, the multi-platinum artist, the Hall of Famer who was lauded by millions and tonight we remember her in song.”
Wynonna, who performed alongside Naomi as The Judds, kicked off the performances by singing the duo’s song River of Time. Elsewhere during the show, she sang Love Can Build a Bridge and teamed up with Brandi Carlile for a rendition of The Rose.
She also revealed that The Judds’ Tour will go on without her musical partner, saying, “I’ve made a decision, and I thought I’d share it on national television: that after a lot of thought, I’m going to have to honour her and do this tour. I’m just going to have to. Because that’s what you would want.”
The event, hosted by Robin Roberts, also featured performances by Brad Paisley, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde, and Little Big Town, among others, and video messages from Bono, Oprah Winfrey, Salma Hayek, Reese Witherspoon, and Morgan Freeman.