Industry folk, friends, fans, and family of Loretta Lynn gathered at the Grand Ole Opry house Sunday night (Oct. 30) for a star-studded celebration of life for the country legend.
Lynn, who passed away on Oct. 4 at her home in Hurricane Mills, was celebrated for her life and legacy with twelve musical performances and many special messages. The event was dubbed “Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Celebration Of The Life & Music Of Loretta Lynn,” and aired live on CMT and was simulcast on SiriusXM’s Willie’s Roadhouse: Willie Nelson’s Classic Country (Channel 59).
The evening was hosted by NBC’s Today Show co-host and close family friend Jenna Bush Hager and included tribute performances from Alan Jackson, Brandi Carlile, Darius Rucker, George Strait, The Highwomen with Brittany Spencer, Jack White, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Margo Price, Emmy Russell and Lukas Nelson, Tanya Tucker, and Wynonna with Gaither Vocal Band and Larry Strickland.
Other stars who appeared—both in person and virtually—to share heartfelt messages included Barbara Mandrell, Faith Hill, Hoda Kotb, Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow, Tim McGraw, Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, Marty Stuart, Miranda Lambert, Reba, Sissy Spacek, Taylor Swift, and more.
Documentary-style videos of Lynn’s story played in between performances, showcasing the Country Music Hall of Famer’s humble beginnings and subsequent rise to stardom. Many videos and special messages highlighted Lynn’s down-home hospitality, her humor and her open-arms to young women coming up in the music industry.
A small exhibit of some of Lynn’s iconic wardrobe pieces was situated just outside the hall. Fans waiting in line to get in created an altar of flowers at the Opry House entrance.
Wynonna, the Gaither Vocal Band and Larry Strickland opened the show with a hair-raising performance of the hymn “How Great Thou Art,” earning the night’s first standing ovation.
Later, Alan Jackson got permission from the Lynn family to sing a song he wrote for his mother when she passed away called “Where Her Heart Has Always Been.” The country legend said the tender song felt appropriate for the occasion, as Lynn had always reminded him of his mother.
Keith Urban did a heart-warming rendition of “You’re Looking At Country,” George Strait honored Lynn with her “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind),” Darius Rucker took on “Fist City,” and Margo Price performed “The Pill.” Tanya Tucker did a great job with “Blue Kentucky Girl” and Little Big Town sounded beautiful on “Let Her Fly.”
One of the night’s many highlights came when Jack White made a surprise appearance to sing “Van Lear Rose,” the title track of his and Lynn’s Grammy-winning album. Just before he performed, guests were treated to a video of a rarely seen performance from Third Man Records Vault Package #24 featuring White and Lynn performing “Whispering Sea,” a favorite of White’s and one of the first songs Lynn ever wrote.
Another standout moment came when Lynn’s granddaughter Emmy Russell joined forces with Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas Nelson, to perform the first song Lynn and Nelson ever recorded together, “Lay Me Down.” The two proteges sounded beautiful together on the reverent tune.
Brandi Carlile did an excellent rendition of one of Lynn’s closest friends, Patsy Cline‘s “She’s Got You.” She later joined The Highwomen’s Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby and Brittney Spencer to close the show with “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
At the end of the program, Lynn’s daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and granddaughter Tayla Lynn took the stage and recalled their pride in all that Lynn accomplished and how loved she was by the world.
“Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Celebration Of The Life & Music Of Loretta Lynn” is a co-production from CMT and Sandbox Productions. Margaret Comeaux (CMT), Jason Owen (Sandbox), Patrizia DiMaria (Ladypants Productions) and Ebie McFarland (Essential Broadcast Media) are Executive Producers.
Two additional commercial-free encore airings of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” will play on CMT on Wednesday, Nov 2 at 7 p.m. CST and Sunday, Nov 6 at 10 a.m. CST.
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