NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Naomi Judd was hailed with words and soaring music at a public memorial service on Sunday, which ended with her daughter Wynonna announcing a tour planned for later this year would take place.
“Tonight is a celebration and at the same time I can’t put into words how devastated I am,” said Wynonna Judd. “I miss her so much.
“After much thought, I have to do her the honor and do this tour. I just have to,” she said to applause and cheers at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. “Tonight, when we close, the show must go on, hard as it may be. And we’ll show up together and you’ll carry me.”
Judd died on April 30 at the age of 76, the day before she and her daughter Wynonna were scheduled to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The ceremony went ahead, although it was unclear as of Sunday whether Wynonna Judd would go ahead with plans for The Judds tour, which begins in September.
In a statement to The Associated Press, the family said they lost her to “the sickness of mental illness.”
Her daughter Ashley told Good Morning America last week that her mother shot herself.
Brad Paisley and Emmylou Harris were among the cast who took the stage to honor Naomi Judd during “The River of Time” memorial service, which was broadcast live on CMT.
Wynonna Judd later returned to the stage play “The Rose” with Brandi Carlile. Wynonna Judd stopped her performance at one point to better repeat a section of the song, and her voice rose as the crowd cheered.
The ceremony began with a eulogy from Judd’s daughter, Ashley, who chronicled her mother’s life from humble beginnings in Kentucky to the heights of superstardom.
“We’re here tonight to commemorate an icon and a legend who left country music better than it found it,” Ashley Judd said through tears.
“She was every woman. Maybe that’s why everyone felt like they knew her,” the actor said. “She was a nurse. She was a single mother who sometimes relied on public support. Traumatized by childhood sexual abuse, intimate partner violence and rape, she was fired by a boss when she refused to take him out for the weekend.
“Tonight we’ll remember her in a song,” the actor said, introducing her sister Wynonna, who sang “River of Time.”
The lyrics – “I’m holding back a flood of tears just thinking about those happy years like all the good times that are gone” filled the Ryman Auditorium, which both Judd daughters hailed as the “mother church” of country music. designated music. ”
Carly Pearce performed “Why Not Me” by Judds and remarked “I’m a Kentucky girl myself” and said she had a picture in her mind of “Naomi kicking her skirt up in heaven tonight”.