Wynonna Judd honors late mother Naomi with performance by CMA Fest

“The show must go on.”

Wynonna Judd joined Carly Pearce on stage Friday night at the CMA Fest in Nashville in 2022 for a touching duet of The Judds’ “Why Not Me”.

The song was originally performed by Wynonna and the late mother Naomi, who died by suicide in April after struggling with mental illness for years.

“CMA Fest, we lost one of our absolute pillars in country music earlier this year: Miss Naomi Judd,” Carly said on stage Friday, The Tennessean reports.

“As a girl growing up in Kentucky, I idolized the Judds and wanted to be like them. My first concert was to see Wynonna,” she continued, “and I’ve always loved all the music the Judds made and I feel like it’s such a representation of the best of country music.

Carly Pearce, left, and Wynonna Judd.
Judd and Carly Pearce played the Judds classic ‘Why Not Me’.
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“So CMA Fest, welcome Wynonna Judd,” she said as Judd took the stage, shocked by the pleasantly surprised audience.

Wynonna and sister Ashley previously honored their mother by bringing together much of the country music community for “Naomi Judd: A River of Time,” which aired ad-free on CMT featuring performances by Ashley McBryde, Brad Paisley, Brandi Carlile, Carly Pearce, Emmylou Harris and Allison Russell, Gaither Vocal Band, Jamey Johnson and Little Big Town.

Wynonna Judd
Wynonna and sister Ashley previously held a concert in memory of their mother.
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“WHAT DO I KNOW???” Wynonna wondered on Instagram after her mother’s death. “I DO know that the pain of losing mom on 4/30 through suicide is so great that I often feel like I will never be able to fully accept the truth and surrender that she left like she did… This can’t be how The Judds’ story ends.”

Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd
The country star says she will continue to sing in honor of her mother.
Getty Images for CMT

“I know, as corny as it sounds, ‘Love Can Build A Bridge.’ I find myself humming the song my mom wrote for the fans, at night to myself here on the farm,” she added. “I really know I can’t do this grieving thing all by myself, and it’s okay to get help. I’ll keep fighting for my faith, for my SELF, for my family, and I WILL keep showing up and singing.” ”

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