Carly Pearce Reflects on Her Powerful Tribute to The Judds—“One of the Most Emotional Experiences I Have Ever Had in My Life”

Carly Pearce gave a powerful performance at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Medallion Ceremony on May 1. She sang a stunning tribute to the Judds, who were among the night’s inductees.

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Just a day before the ceremony, Noami Judd’s daughters announced her sudden passing on social media. Since then, several reports have deemed her death a suicide.

At the request of the Judd family, the Hall continued on with the induction ceremony—which also included the late Ray Charles and musicians Eddie Bayer and Pete Drake. Ashley and Wynonna Judd tearfully accepted the honor on their mother’s behalf.

Pearce delivered a somber rendition of the duo’s 1986 hit “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days). The singer recounted the emotional evening and The Judd’s legacy in the days after the event in an Instagram post.

“Last night was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever had in my life… singing “Grandpa” in light of such tragic loss, looking in the eyes of Naomi’s beautiful daughters. I am forever grateful & send Wynonna and Ashley all my love. Long live the Judds,” Pearce wrote.

In an interview with 99.5 WYCD (Detroit), she added, “I had the honor last night of getting to be a surprise musical guest, and sing ‘Grandpa’ for Wynonna and Ashley. I knew I was doing this a few months ago, but I had no idea what was going to happen. I don’t understand what it’s like to lose your mother, and to lose your mother hours before this celebration, and hearing those girls speak, and feeling the heaviness in the room, was so hard to describe. They were so sorry their mom couldn’t hold on to be there but knew how much it meant to her.” 

Other performers that paid tribute to the Judds at sunday evening ceremony included Gillian Welch and David Rawlings singing “Young Love (Strong Love)” and Timmy Simms performing “Love Can Build a Bridge.” Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill, The War and Treaty, Bettye LaVette and more performed tributes to the other honorees.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

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