May 16, 2022 - News

Country music "icon and legend" Naomi Judd remembered

Ashley and Wynonna Judd hug on stage
Ashley and Wynonna Judd. Photo: George Walker IV/The Tennessean/USA Today Network

Naomi Judd's extraordinary legacy was celebrated Sunday night during an emotional memorial service at the Ryman Auditorium.

Driving the news: Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley and Little Big Town were on hand to perform. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Bette Midler shared video messages.

  • But the most powerful tributes came from Naomi's daughters.

Between the lines: Naomi Judd was an outspoken advocate for mental health care who struggled with depression.

What they're saying: Ashley Judd began by speaking about her mother's cultivation of "preternatural mother-daughter harmonies."

  • "We are here tonight remembering an icon and a legend who left country music better than she found it."

Wynonna's majestic voice is one of country music's great instruments. It is a vessel of pure emotion.

  • Singing her mother's words on "River of Time" was the ultimate encapsulation of the grief, love and despair that come alongside a sudden loss.
  • "Flow on, river of time," she sang, looking up. "Wash away the pain and heal my mind."

The bottom line: Wynonna ended the telecast with a pledge to move forward with the reunion tour she had planned with her mother, calling it an extension of the tribute.

  • "We will continue this spectacle," she said before a rousing rendition of "Love Can Build a Bridge," the last song Wynonna sang with her mother.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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