Loretta Lynn’s Granddaughter and Willie Nelson’s Son Earn Standing Ovation at Lynn’s Memorial Service

by Suzanne Halliburton
Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMT

The granddaughter of Loretta Lynn joined the son of Willie Nelson to pay a perfect tribute to the queen of country music at a memorial service held for Lynn this weekend.

The official musical celebration of life had a name — it was CMT’s Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Celebration of the Life and Music of Loretta Lynn. And Emmy Russell, the daughter of Lynn’s daughter, Patsy, told the audience of her grandmother:

“She always stood in the corner and called me on stage. I’d sing a song—one original and one that everybody knew. It’s the first time that she’s not here to look at me with her proud eyes. It’s just special. Thank you for listening.”

Then she called Lukas Nelson, one of Willie’s sons, on stage to do a duet. They sang “Lay Me Down.” Give it a listen and you’ll know why those in the audience at the Grand Ole Opry gave this pair a standing ovation. Then read on for more of why they picked this song.

Two Performed a Loretta Lynn Song about Being at Peace About Death

Weren’t these two perfect, especially with the mournful fiddle adding to the moment. This song represented the only official collaboration between Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson. And they performed the song for Lynn’s 2016 album, Full Circle.

And here’s an interesting note about the album. Emmy’s mother, Patsy, co-produced the album. So did John Carter Cash, the only child of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. This was Lynn’s 40th album that earned a spot among the Billboard Top 10 top country albums. It also received a Grammy nomination. And showing its cross-over appeal, the album peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200.

Mark Marchetti wrote Lay Me Down, which was the fourth and final song released from the album. Marchetti is married to Peggy, Patsy’s twin sister. Both Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello (“Everything It Takes”) did collaborations with Loretta Lynn.

“Lay Me Down” seems a perfect choice for a funeral or memorial service. So having Loretta’s granddaughter sing it about her grandmother was perfect. Essentially, the song is about a man or woman who says he or she will be at peace with death.

Here’s a sampling of the lyrics:

“This life isn’t fair, it seems, it’s filled with tears and broken dreams.
“There are no tears where I am bound. And I’ll be at peace when they lay me down.

“When they lay me down some day, my soul will rise, then fly away. This old world will turn around, I’ll be at peace when they lay me down.”

TODAY show host Jenna Bush Hager hosted the Loretta Lynn tribute. So many country stars performed for the show to honor Lynn, who died Oct. 4, and say their goodbyes. Performers included Alan Jackson, Wynonna Judd, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, Tanya Tucker, Margo Price and Jack White. Plus, Sissy Spacek, who won an Academy Award for portraying Lynn, made an appearance, as did fellow country queens Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton. Even Taylor Swift was part of the show.