Wynonna Judd took the 2022 CMA Fest stage barely a month after her mother Naomi Judd died unexpectedly in Nashville. She gave fans a performance they’ll never forget.
Carly Pearce brought Judd to the CMA Fest stage to sing “Why Not Me,” a timeless song from the Judds. Both women are from Kentucky, and Pearce has talked at length about the influence the Country Music Hall of Famers had on her.
“If you listen to [my album] 29, my song ‘Easy Going,’ I totally tried to just straight up rip the Judds,” the singer told Taste of Country Nights in April. “And I’ve told Wynonna that, so she knows. They, to me, were just that rootsy sound that I loved so much, that I grew up on. Just the tone of [Wynonna’s] voice — it’s evolved over the years — but those are some of my earliest memories of discovering country music. I love them.”
Video shared by the Country Music Association begins with both women on stage, preparing to launch into this fan-favorite hit. Judd takes lead, and at times looks to be soaking up the audience’s enthusiasm. Toward the end, she urges her band to play quietly so she can hear the audience singing.
“For mama, let’s do this,” she says, asking the audience to sway with her in memory of Naomi Judd.
Pearce has no trouble finding space to add her voice to the song, handling most of the second verse and parts of the chorus. Her confidence is only topped by her appreciation for the moment. It was an endless smile from the 32-year-old.
The performance was filmed in Nashville in June, but aired on ABC on Wednesday night (Aug. 3) during the three-hour CMA Fest TV special. Naomi Judd died by suicide on April 30, 2022.
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