Per the request of inductee Naomi Judd's family, the Country Music Hall of Fame's medallion ceremony took place as scheduled just one day after The Judds matriarch's death. The event was hosted on Sunday (May 1) in Nashville, Tenn. at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Judds' induction began with live performances by Carly Pearce ("Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days)"), Gillian Welch and David Rawlings ("Young Love (Strong Love)") and Tommy Sims ("Love Can Build a Bridge").
Fellow Kentuckian Ricky Skaggs added some levity to his emotional introduction of Wynonna Judd and her younger half-sister Ashley Judd by referring to The Judds' multi-Grammy award-winning sound as "front porch, back porch, no porch."
"My mama loved you so much, and she appreciated your love for her," Ashley said during a tearful speech. "I'm sorry that she couldn't hang on until today. Your esteem for her and your regard for her really penetrated her heart, and it was your affection for her that did keep her going in these last years."
"I didn't prepare anything tonight because I knew Mom would probably talk the most," Wynonna added. "I'm gonna make this fast, because my heart's broken and I feel so blessed. It's a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed... Though my heart's broken, I will continue to sing, because that's what we do."
Ashley and Wynonna followed their speeches with a recitation of Psalm 23.
The Judds joined the Hall of Fame alongside three fellow inductees: country-soul pioneer Ray Charles, pedal steel innovator Pete Drake and the session drummer on multiple Judds recordings, Eddie Bayers.
The Hall of Fame announced on Saturday (April 30) that the induction ceremony would go on as planned.
"We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Naomi Judd, who enters the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow as a member of mother-daughter duo The Judds," said Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young in a press release. "Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a significant place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today's tragic news.
"Her family has asked that we continue with The Judds' official Hall of Fame induction on Sunday," Young continued. "We will do so, with heavy hearts and weighted minds. Naomi and daughter Wynonna's music will endure."
Naomi died on Saturday, just weeks after the announcement of a fall reunion tour for The Judds and a performance by the duo at the 2022 CMT Music Awards.
"Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness," read a statement from the family (as reported by the Associated Press). "We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory."
Naomi was survived by her husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland.
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