Hosted by Robin Roberts, daughters Wynonna & Ashley Judd come together with Naomi’s closest friends, family and fans for healing and remembrance at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium
Wynonna announces The Judds Final Tour to continue on in her mother’s legacy
NASHVILLE, TN – (May 15, 2022) – Tonight, CMT and Sandbox Live, in partnership with The Judd family, together united the biggest names in entertainment alongside friends, family and the country music community for “NAOMI JUDD: A RIVER OF TIME CELEBRATION.” The star-packed tribute to the extraordinary life and legacy of country music icon Naomi Judd aired LIVE commercial-free from Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, exclusively on CMT.
Hosted by Co-Anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America” and close family friend, Robin Roberts, Wynonna and Ashley Judd together celebrated their mother’s legacy, to a standing ovation as Wynonna delivered a special announcement that The Judds Final Tour will continue on later this year, honoring Naomi’s legacy.
The public celebration featured all-star tribute performances that each received standing ovations from the industry, artist and fan-filled crowd, including The Judds biggest hits from Ashley McBryde, Brad Paisley, Brandi Carlile, Carly Pearce, Emmylou Harris & Allison Russell, Gaither Vocal Band, Jamey Johnson, Little Big Town and several show-stopping performances from Wynonna herself. The special also featured messages from Naomi’s closest friends and fans, including Bette Midler, Bono, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Reese Witherspoon and Salma Hayek. Wynonna & Ashley Judd, Naomi’s husband Larry Strickland, and Martina McBride who all delivered touching remarks in Naomi’s honor. Carly Pearce and Cody Alan served as hosts for CMT, setting the stage for an incredible and emotional evening.
Top highlights from tonight’s “NAOMI JUDD: A RIVER OF TIME CELEBRATION” include:
- Host Robin Roberts kicked off the emotional evening, welcoming Ashley Judd to the stage to deliver a heartfelt recollection of Naomi’s incredibly full and bold life, before introducing sister Wynonna for a heartfelt performance of “River of Time.”
- Ashley McBryde fought back tears as she sang the legendary duo’s No. 1 hit “Love Is Alive.”
- Little Big Town performed the duo’s hit song “Grandpa,” also nodding to the duo’s influence on the group, sharing: “Your music has been the fabric of our lives and Naomi, it will live with us forever.”
- Fellow Kentuckian Carly Pearce treated the packed crowd to a soulful rendition of “Why Not Me,” pulling double duty as CMT co-host for the evening alongside Cody Alan.
- Martina McBride delivered a powerful reading of friend Maya Angelou’s “When Great Trees Fall,” while friend Bono recited a moving excerpt of The Judds’ “Guardian Angels.”
- Emmylou Harris & Allison Russell joined forces to deliver a beautiful performance of “The Sweetest Gift,” bringing the crowd to tears.
- At Naomi’s special request, the Gaither Vocal Band brought show-stopping harmonies to The Mother Church with “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be,” bringing the crowd to tears.
- Brad Paisley opened his performance of “Young Love” by fondly reminiscing about his first time opening for The Judds as a teenager, saying: “It was a big deal to open for them then, but a bigger deal to do this for them now.”
- Bette Midler shared an emotional memory of performing “The Rose” with The Judds on stage in Nashville ahead of Brandi Carlile and Wynonna’s unforgettable performance of the smash hit.
- Husband Larry Strickland appeared on stage alongside Wynonna and Ashley to share fond memories of Naomi and her special connection to her fans, even sharing some heartfelt messages they have received in the past few weeks that provided them comfort.
- Throughout the evening, Naomi’s closest friends and fans delivered heartfelt speeches and shared memories, including Reese Witherspoon, who celebrated Naomi’s legacy as a single mother and a woman breaking barriers; Oprah Winfrey reflected on Naomi’s undeniable connection with her fans and the strong roots of the country music community,
- Wynonna brought the Ryman to its feet for the final standing ovation of the night, closing the show with a larger-than-life, all-sing performance of “Love Can Build A Bridge,” after treating fans to a surprise announcement The Judds Final Tour would continue later this year in her mother’s honor.
Full performance list below:
- Wynonna Judd – “River of Time”
- Wynonna Judd & Brandi Carlile – “The Rose”
- Wynonna Judd – “Love Can Build A Bridge”
- Ashley McBryde – “Love is Alive”
- Brad Paisley – “Young Love”
- Carly Pearce – “Why Not Me”
- Emmylou Harris & Allison Russell – “The Sweetest Gift”
- Gaither Vocal Band – “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be”
- Jamey Johnson – “John Deere Tractor”
- Little Big Town – “Grandpa”
“NAOMI JUDD: A RIVER OF TIME CELEBRATION” is a co-production from CMT and Sandbox Live; Margaret Comeaux (CMT), Leslie Fram (CMT), Jason Owen (Sandbox) and Patrizia DiMaria (Ladypants Productions) are Executive Producers.
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