‘Naomi Judd: A River Of Time Celebration’ Remembers Country Music Superstar In Song

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The country music community gathered today at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville to remember one of their own. As it might be expected, the best way to honor and memorialize one of the genre’s greatest hitmakers was found in song.

Naomi Judd: A River of Time was carried live and commercial-free on CMT.

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“It’s so weird, yet so natural, to be in front of (the fans), our chosen family for 38 years,” Wynonna Judd said near the end of the memorial. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” she said, quoting a gospel hymn,

Then, Wynonna said that she would be going on the 11-date national tour that she and her mother had previously announced.

“The show must go on, as hard as it may be,” she said.

Naomi Judd never met a stranger, according to her husband, Larry Strickland. He spoke while flanked by Ashley and Wynonna Judd, onstage. Their stories of two things, “their passions and their dogs,” inspired her greatly, added

Daughter Ashley Judd added, in opening remarks that her mother was an “everywoman, but totally extraordinary,” who lived a life that was a “spectacular technicolor dream,” and that she “left country music better than she found it.”

The tribute included performances by Ashley McBryde, Brad Paisley, Brandi Carlile, Carly Pearce, Emmylou Harris & Allison Russell, Gaither Vocal Band, Jamey Johnson, Little Big Town and Wynonna Judd.

Bette Midler, Bono, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Reba McEntire, Reese Witherspoon and Salma Hayek also delivered special messages to the late country singer.

Once the program ended, there was a procession down Nashville’s Broadway, where fans lined up to say their goodbyes to Naomi Judd.

The celebration was hosted by Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America and a close family friend. Roberts was a former sports reporter/anchor at WSMV at a time when the Judds were appearing on Ralph Emery’s morning show on WSM-TV.

Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration was a co-production from CMT and Sandbox Live; Margaret Comeaux (CMT), Leslie Fram (CMT), Jason Owen (Sandbox) and Patrizia DiMaria (Ladypants Productions) served as EPs. .

Watch videos of select speeches and performances from the tribute below.

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