Wynonna Judd performs onstage during CMT and Sandbox Live's "Naomi Judd: A River Of Time Celebration" at Ryman Auditorium on May 15, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT

Wynonna Judd Honors Naomi Judd With Powerful 'Love Can Build a Bridge' Performance


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Wynonna Judd took the stage at the Mother Church of country music on Sunday, May 15 to honor her late mother, the legendary Naomi Judd. Wynonna performed as part of the Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration, held at the Ryman Auditorium.

Hosted by Robin Roberts, the tribute to Naomi Judd also featured performances from Brad Paisley ("Young Love"), Brandi Carlile, Carly Pearce ("Why Not Me"), Emmylou Harris and Allison Russell ("The Sweetest Gift"), Little Big Town ("Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)), Ashley McBryde ("Love is Alive") and Gaither Vocal Band ("How Beautiful Heaven Must Be") and messages from Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Reba McEntire, Reese Witherspoon, Salma Hayek and Martina McBride.

Wynonna Judd performs onstage during CMT and Sandbox Live's "Naomi Judd: A River Of Time Celebration" at Ryman Auditorium on May 15, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Photo by Katie Kauss/Getty Images for CMT

Fittingly, Wynonna closed the program with "Love Can Build a Bridge," the Judd's 1990 hit, which Naomi co-wrote. On April 11, the duo performed the song on the 2022 CMT Music Awards.

Joined by a Pentecostal choir, which stood throughout the pews of the Ryman, Wynonna sang for the heavens.

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"I want her to hear this," Judd said, before leading the audience in a chill-inducing singalong of Naomi Judd's words.

Wynonna also helped open the show with a performance of "River of Time" (after being introduced by her sister Ashley Judd) and joined Brandi Carlile to perform "The Rose."

Wynonna and Ashley Judd announced the death of their mother on April 30 through a statement.

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"Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness," the statement read. "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."

During a Thursday (May 12) interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, Ashley Judd said that her mother died by suicide.

"Our mother couldn't hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers," Ashley Judd said. "That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her, because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn't penetrate into her heart, and the lie that the disease told her was so convincing."

If you are in crisis or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

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The Story Behind 'Love Can Build a Bridge'

Naomi Judd co-wrote "Love Can Build a Bridge" with Paul Overstreet and John Barlow Jarvis. The song served as a loving goodbye to fans of the Judds' when the duo disbanded. It's the title track to the Judds' last full studio album.

The song was later recorded by Chrissie Hynde, Cher, Nenah Cherry and Eric Clapton.

Love Can Build a Bridge is also the name of Naomi Judd's 1993 autobiography and the 1995 made-for-television biographical film Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge.

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The Grammy-winning mother-daughter duo released several beloved hits throughout their incredible career, including "Mama, He's Crazy," "Love is Alive," "Why Not Me," "Have Mercy," "Rockin' with the Rhythm of the Rain" and more.

"Love Can Build a Bridge" Lyrics:

I'd gladly walk across the desert
With no shoes upon my feet
To share with you the last bite
Of bread I had to eat
I would swim out to save you
In your sea of broken dreams
When all your hopes are sinkin'
Let me show you what love means
Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don't you think it's time?
Don't you think it's time?

I would whisper love so loudly
Every heart could understand
That love and only love
Can join the tribes of man
I would give my heart's desire
So that you might see
The first step is to realize
That it all begins with you and me

Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don't you think it's time?
Don't you think it's time?

Love and only love

READ MORE: Keith Urban Honors Naomi Judd With 'Love Can Build a Bridge' Performance

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