Last Sunday evening (May 15, 2022), Naomi Judd was celebrated with words and soaring music in the special CMT event called Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration. Country stars such as Brad Paisley, Brandi Carlile, Ashley McBryde, Emmylou Harris, and Little Big Town took the stage in honor of the country icon.
The memorial service emotionally started with the audience hearing from Naomi’s daughters: actress Ashley Judd and the other half of the duo The Judds, Wynonna Judd. Ashley tearfully delivered a eulogy that traced her mother’s harrowing background from its simple life in Kentucky to the peak of superstardom.
Meanwhile, Wynonna duly let the music do the talking. She followed her sister’s words with a soulful performance. Surrounded by more than 1,200 roses on stage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Wynonna composed herself to deliver a soulful “River of Time” – the title track from The Judds’ 1989 album, which sings about a relationship’s demise and how time has always been enough to heal all pain.
There were definitely no dry eyes from the audience, especially when Wynonna changed the lyric from “My love is gone, gone, gone” to, heartbreakingly, “My mother is gone, gone, gone.”
Other country stars then performed their own takes on a long list of The Judds’ song catalog. This includes Brad Paisley, who – before performing “Young Love (Strong Love)” – emotionally looked back at the time he opened for The Judds, whom he called the greatest act in country music. Paisley recounted that he was only 13 then, but what made it a bigger deal was that his grandfather, who has cancer, was watching him.
Among The Most Popular Duos
Wynonna Judd has shared the stage with her mother since 1983. Not only did they have a staggering run of hits, but they became the most successful female duo in country music history. Their influence on the women artists that came after them could not be overstated.
As the emotional memorial service was about to end, Wynonna also revealed that – after so much thought – she’d carry her mother’s legacy on the 11-date tour, which was dubbed as The Final Tour.
It would have been The Judds’ first tour in over a decade.
Click the video below to watch as Wynonna does a wonderful performance of “River of Time.”
Naomi Judd, Wynonna Judd