Music icon

Country music ‘icon and legend’ Naomi Judd commemorated in Nashville

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

Naomi Judd’s extraordinary legacy was celebrated Sunday night at a moving 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 a strong advocate for mental health care who struggled with depression.

What they say : Ashley Judd began by talking about her mother’s cultivation of “supernatural mother-daughter harmonies.”

  • “We are here tonight in remembrance of an icon and legend who left country music better than it found it.”

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

  • Singing his mother’s words to “River of Time” was the ultimate synthesis of the grief, love and despair that comes with sudden loss.
  • “Flow on, river of time,” she sang, looking up. “Erase the pain and heal my mind.”

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

  • “We’re going to keep this show going,” 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 is considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME at 741741.

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