The Judd sisters paid an emotional tribute to their late mother Naomi Judd at the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Wynonna and Ashley Judd announced the death of their mother, who succumbed to mental illness, just one day before the country legend was set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the duo The Judds. The Hall of Fame’s official Twitter page announced that the family had requested the ceremony move forward, though the red carpet was canceled out of respect.
Both sisters spoke during the induction. Through tears, Ashley told the crowd:
“My momma loved you so much, and she appreciated your love for her. And I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today. Your esteem for her, and your regard for her, really penetrated her heart, and it was your affection for her that did keep her going in these last years.”
Wynonna, who herself was honored as one half of the musical duo, said:
“I didn’t prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably talk the most. I’m gonna make this fast, because my heart’s broken, and I feel so blessed. It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed.”
She went on:
“You all know that I’m all about the songs. The music. I could give a rip, really, about the rest, because it all comes and goes. … Though my heart’s broken, I will continue to sing, because that’s what we do.”
According to the Tennessean, the singer reported that her mother died at 2:20 p.m., and that she kissed her Naomi “on the forehead and walked away.” She shared that the family had recited the bible verse Psalm 23 (“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”) over her body, and invited the crowd to recite it alongside her and her sister.
The occasion was also marked by tribute performances from the country community: per Taste of Country, Tommy Simms performed Love Can Build a Bridge, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings performed Young Love (Strong Love) and Carly Pearce performed Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days). Brandi Carlile had been scheduled to perform a tribute, but was replaced on the lineup due to COVID-19; she shared her rendition of Love Can Build a Bridge on Instagram instead.
A post shared by Brandi Carlile (@brandicarlile)
Naomi’s death is a heartbreaking loss. We are glad that the Hall of Fame induction provided an opportunity to pay tribute to her life and legacy. Continuing to keep Wynonna and Ashley in our thoughts.
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