Last weekend, CMT broadcast “A Celebration of the Life and Music of Loretta Lynn” at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House. A host of country music royalty turned up to play her songs, from veteran industries stars like George Strait and Tanya Tucker to newer outlaws like The Highwomen and Margo Price. Jack White sang “Van Lear Rose,” off the album of the same name he produced for Lynn in 2004. Keith Urban busted out a banjo-guitar for “You’re Lookin’ at Country,” Lynn’s 1971 hit. Strait tackled early chart-topper “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).” Her tracks pushing at the conservative country establishment got airings too: Price performed the pioneering birth control song “The Pill” – a song the Opry, where this show took place, once tried to ban – and Darius Rucker (of all people) performed the feminist anthem “Fist City.”
Not all the songs were penned by Lynn herself, though she had made them all her own at one time or another. Brandi Carlile sang “She’s Got You,” off Lynn’s 1977 Patsy Cline tribute album I Remember Patsy. Little Big Town sang the Dolly Parton-penned “Let Her Fly,” off Lynn, Parton, and Tammy Wynette’s 1993 trio album Honky Tonk Angels. And, keeping it all in the family, Emmy Russell & Lukas Nelson sang a duet Emmy’s grandmother Lynn not too long ago recorded with Lukas’s dad Willie called “Lay Me Down.”
Lynn herself appeared in a message recorded shortly before her passing: “To my friends, thank you for giving me such a great life. I have never taken it or you for granted. Because of you, my kids didn’t have to grow up poor the way I did. As a mother, I didn’t have to go to bed heartbroken. What you gave me allowed me to give them a better life. I hope you know what a gift that is. I have shared my story so many times through my songs, through my books, through my movie. I have tried to give back to you as much as I could, even though I know I can’t. I could never repay you for the life and the love that you’ve given to me. Thank you. I’ve traveled all over the world, but I never got to see much, that is, except for you – my fans, my friends. I want you to know that I saw and remember every one of you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Watch videos of all the performances below, in order they happened during the show itself.