Ashley McBryde honored the late Naomi Judd with a cover of the singer’s No. 1 hit “Love Is Alive” Sunday (May 15). McBryde’s tribute to Judd aired during a star-studded CMT special called Naomi Judd: A River Of Time Celebration.
The special aired commercial free from the “Mother Church,” Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
McBryde, who also played guitar during the performance, fought back tears as she sang, even stopping the song at one point.
“Sorry y’all,” McBryde said.
Following the special, CMT posted a clip of the performance as a reel to their Instagram page, writing, “We can all agree, love is alive at the Ryman tonight” adding a ❣️ emoji and tagging McBryde in the post.
Fans reacted to McBryde’s emotion in the post’s comments section, with one sharing she was “crying along” with the singer.
In addition to McBryde’s performance, Little Big Town took to the stage with a cover of Judd’s song, “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days),” Brad Paisley played an acoustic version of “Young Love (Strong Love),” and Carly Pearce delivered a cover of “Why Not Me.”
Judd’s oldest daughter and singing partner Wynonna also honored her mother, first with a rendition of “River of Time” and then in a duet of Bette Midler’s “The Rose” with Brandi Carlile before closing out the show with a rousing performance of “Love Can Build A Bridge.”
Wynonna was backed by members of the Christ Church choir in Nashville–the church her mother attended, she shared–and received a standing ovation at the song’s conclusion.
Many of the Judd family’s friends shared their memories of the singer via videos they sent in for the special, including Bette Midler, Oprah Winfrey, Reba McEntire, and Salma Hayek, among others.
Besides the memories Judd’s friends offered, Wynonna, her younger sister, actress Ashley Judd, and their late mother’s husband Larry Strickland spoke about the singer and her role in their lives.
Wynonna also shared that she would still go out on The Final Tour, a 10-city arena tour that was announced prior to her mother’s death, saying that’s what Naomi “would have wanted.”
News of Naomi Judd’s death broke on April 30. Judd, who battled mental illness including depression for years, committed suicide. Her daughter Ashley revealed that her mother used a firearm to take her own life during a recent interview on Good Morning America.