WATCH: Wynonna Judd, Brandi Carlile Deliver Emotional ‘Love Is Alive’ Performance in Nashville

by Craig Garrett

Brandi Carlile surprised fans with an appearance by Wynonna Judd during her two-night engagement in Nashville this past weekend. Wynonna Judd appeared on stage with Carlile at Ascend Amphitheater’s July 8 and 9 shows to perform two of the Judds’ most recognized songs. Judd had a special message prepared for her followers.

“The last two months have been hard, and I know you love me, and I love you too,” Wynonna Judd told those in attendance. “My mama’s been gone for two months now and it’s been a tough season of sadness”, she said. Judd then addressed Carlile. “Thank you, Brandi, for reaching out and saying, ‘Would you like to sing me?’ I went, ‘Duh! I’m not stupid,'” she quipped.

Despite huge loss, Wynonna Judd delivers a message of hope to fans

“You show up in whatever shape you’re in,” she went on. “For anyone out there tonight who needs a little inspiration, let me tell you something. There is hope. You’ve just gotta keep showing up, and that’s what I’m doing tonight.” Of course, Wynonna Judd is referring to the death of her mother and musical partner Naomi Judd. The matriarch died by suicide on April 30, and the loss was still weighing heavily on Wynonna the night of the performance.

“I’m broken and I’m blessed, and the music heals us,” Wynonna Judd told the crowd. “This next song is one of the Judds’ most popular songs and I sing it with a heavy heart. But I’m singing it tonight to tell you that I thank you and I love you, and please don’t give up. If you feel like giving up, please reach out to a friend.”

Below is a fan film of the performance from their YouTube channel. It’s a heartwrenching rendition of the Judds hit, “Love is Alive”.

Carlile has a deep history with Wynonna Judd

Before that emotional moment, Carlile and Judd performed “Girls Night Out”. The performance was in sharp contrast with the above clip. Full of energy and happiness, the song was met with a chorus of cheers from the ecstatic crowd. Another stirring moment occurred when Carlile dedicated her song “This Time Tomorrow” to Wynonna. During the song, Judd sat beside Carlile’s feet, visibly moved. After, Wynonna wiped away tears as she smiled at her friend. The two embraced for a lengthy moment.

Following the death of Naomi Judd, Carlile became vocal about her strong tie to the Judds. She was supposed to sing “Love Can Build a Bridge” during the Judds’ induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. However, just a day after Naomi’s death, she was forced to withdraw due to COVID-19. She returned to the stage a few weeks later to sing “The Rose” with Wynonna Judd. This was for the television program, Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration, which took place on May 15 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.