Ashley Judd Pays Tribute to Her Sister Wynonna Following Emotional CMA Fest Performance

by Caitlin Berard

Earlier this year, the world lost an icon when legendary singer and actress Naomi Judd died at the age of 76. Since her death, her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley Judd, have continued to honor their mother’s memory, and at the CMA Fest in Nashville on Friday, Wynonna gave her biggest tribute yet.

When Carly Pearce took the stage, fans were touched by her moving speech about Naomi Judd and how the trailblazing superstar inspired her own career. “As a girl growing up in Kentucky, I idolized the Judds and wanted to be like them,” she explained. “I’ve always loved all the music that the Judds made and feel like it is such a representation of the best of country music.”

Following the heartfelt story, Carly Pearce invited Wynonna Judd to join her on stage. “Let’s go back to the 80s, shall we?” Wynonna Judd announced before breaking into The Judds’ 1984 hit, “Why Not Me.”

The country icon invited Carly Pearce to sing along during the chorus, which she gladly accepted. In a subsequent interview with The Tennessean, Carly described just how special it was to perform a duet with her idol. “You also want your heroes to kind of nod and pass the baton to you to be the next generation that they feel like, ‘Country music is safe in your hands.'”

Ashley Judd Pens Heartfelt Message to Her Sister Following CMA Fest Performance

Together, Carly Pearce and Wynonna Judd tore the house down, the crowd cheering and singing along as they gave a performance that was inspirational yet heart-wrenching in context. Following the performance, Ashley Judd, Wynonna’s younger sister, was in awe, and recently took to Instagram to pen a heartfelt message to her sister and other performers who paid tribute to their late mother.

“Wow. This is the power of my big sister’s voice,” she wrote. “She will blow you away. And she has blown me away with her willingness to show up & sing for our mom during this emotionally harrowing time. [Wynonna Judd] I lift you up, I love you, I walk beside you. This is also to thank the deep thoughtfulness of our artist friends who eulogized our beloved mom in song and word at her celebrations.”

“You moved us with your gifts, presence, harmonies, reflections, tears, and effort,” she continued. “We wish we had space to draw out the singularity of each of your distinct contributions to her. As a single working mom (Reese), a songwriter (Bono), a harmony singer (Emmy Lou and Allison), as pure county sound (Jimmy), as an intellectual (Salma), as a sister and woman, (Dolly and Reba) and sojounrer (Martina), and the Isaacs for hearing her anointing. We felt your love and respect. We thank you deeply. Love, Ashley, Wy, and Pop.”