CMT’s “COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER: A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE & MUSIC OF LORETTA LYNN” delivers tears, heartfelt tributes and emotional performances

CMT and Sandbox Productions, in partnership with Loretta Lynn’s family, together united the biggest names in entertainment alongside friends, family and the country music community for “COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER: A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE & MUSIC OF LORETTA LYNN.” The star-packed tribute to the extraordinary life and legacy of country music icon Loretta Lynn aired LIVE commercial-free from the Grand Ole Opry House, exclusively on CMT and simulcast on SiriusXM’s Willie’s Roadhouse: Willie Nelson’s Classic Country (Channel 59). 

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. 

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.

Top highlights from tonight’s “COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER: A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE & MUSIC OF LORETTA LYNN” hosted by NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager include:

  • 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. 
  • The Highwomen’s Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires + Natalie Hemby and Brittney Spencer performed a show-stopping finale of Lynn’s most recognizable hit, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Earlier in the night, Carlile also performed “She’s Got You” solo.  
  • 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. 
  • 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.”
  • 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. 
  • Keith Urban fondly remembered Loretta by playing a voicemail she had left for him inviting him to her birthday party, followed by his rendition of “You’re Looking At Country.” 
  • 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.
  • 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.’
  • 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).”
  • Host Jenna Bush Hager recalled the controversy surrounding one of Lynn’s biggest hits - a song that country radio originally refused to play, “The Pill,” sung by a spirited Margo Price.
  • Lynn’s granddaughter Tayla Lynn & daughter Patsy Lynn Russell took the stage and recalled their pride in all that Lynn accomplished and how loved she was by the world. 
  • Throughout the evening, more of Lynn’s closest friends and fans delivered heartfelt speeches and shared personal memories, including 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. 

Full performance list below: