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Country Music Celebrates Loretta Lynn at Opry With CMT "Coal Miner's Daughter" Tribute

Last night Loretta Lynn filled the Grand Ole Opry once again as CMT honored her with their "COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER: A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE & MUSIC OF LORETTA LYNN"

The night was full of heartfelt tributes and emotional performances to honor the life, legacy & music of country music icon Loretta Lynn.

Hosted by NBC’s “Today Show” co-host and close family friend Jenna Bush Hager, the public celebration featured all-star tribute performances from Alan Jackson, Brandi Carlile, Darius Rucker, George Strait, The Highwomen’s Carlile, Amanda Shires + Natalie Hemby with Brittany Spencer, Jack White, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Margo Price, Emmy Russell + Lukas Nelson, Tanya Tucker and Wynonna with Gaither Vocal Band + Larry Strickland.

Video Courtesy Of CMT

The magic is the room was made up and fans, family and fellow stars. Stories of Loretta made the packed Opry house cry, laugh, and cry again. Through these songs and stories it was clear to see the impact that Loretta left on everyone she met.

The common thread, that she loved fiercely. She loved Jesus, her family and most of all country music.

Opening the memorial, Wynonna feat. Gaither Vocal Band + Larry Strickland delivered a chills-inducing performance of the classic hymn, “How Great Thou Art” for the night’s first standing ovation.

Keith Urban fondly remembered Loretta by playing a voicemail she had left for him inviting him to her birthday party. The crowd laughed along with Urban. Keith with his signature vocals then with his rendition of “You’re Looking At Country.”

Martina McBride shared an emotional memory of the day that Loretta inducted her into the Grand Ole Opry and remarked that ‘women of country music could not be where we are today without Loretta Lynn.’ We couldn't agree more!

The influence Loretta left became more apparent as the night unfolded. Barbara Mandrell recalled watching the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter on her tour bus, calling Lynn an ‘iconic talent’ who was also kind, generous and loving. She then introduced Tanya Tucker, who sang “Blue Kentucky Girl,” accompanied by her daughters Layla and Presley on background vocals.

Country music giant and dear friend of Loretta, Alan Jackson expressed his gratitude to the Lynn family for allowing him to sing “Where Her Heart Has Always Been,” the song he wrote for his mother when she passed away, in memory of Loretta. He shared that Loretta often reminded him of his mother: “Both were outgoing, sweet and genuine and would tell you exactly what was on their minds.”

Those who couldn't be there left heartfelt messages and told tender stories of the late country icon. On-stage guests who appeared to share heartfelt messages included Barbara Mandrell, Darius Rucker, Faith Hill, Hoda Kotb, Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow and Tim McGraw, plus special messages from Lynn’s closest friends and fans: Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, Marty Stuart, Miranda Lambert, Reba, Sissy Spacek and Taylor Swift.

Sissy Spacek, who recalled being “thunderstruck” upon first meeting Loretta; Dolly Parton shared that “Loretta was the best friend anybody could ever have.” Taylor Swift praised Lynn for being an example for all songwriters, particularly females with her ‘truthful, fearless honesty’ in her writing.

The Opry house was on there feet as George Strait remembered Loretta as “one helluva songwriter and entertainer,” also saying, “‘I love her and miss her dearly” as he delivered her first No. 1 hit, “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind).”

Loretta even made the most unlikely of friends. Jack White’s surprise appearance and powerful live performance of “Van Lear Rose,” the title track of his and Loretta’s Grammy-winning album, was a standout of the night. Introduced by Margo Price, fans were also treated to a rarely seen performance from Third Man Records Vault Package #24 featuring White and Lynn performing “Whispering Sea,” a favorite of White’s and one of the first songs Loretta ever wrote.

One of the best best moments of the night, Lynn’s granddaughter Emmy Russell joined forces with Willie Nelson’s grandson, Lukas Nelson, to perform “Lay Me Down,” the first song Loretta and Willie ever recorded together to a standing O.

The night ended with a stunning rendition of Loretta's classic "Coal Miner's Daughter." The Highwomen’s Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires + Natalie Hemby and Brittney Spencer “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

The impact Loretta Lynn has left on this world is a great one. The Grand Ole Opry reverberated with faith, joy and the love that Loretta gave to her loved ones.

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