Faith Hill got choked up before she and husband Tim McGraw even began their tribute to Loretta Lynn. The country couple was asked to say a few words during Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Celebration of the Life & Music of Loretta Lynn. They did more than that.
Hill’s part of the speech was an impassioned statement about the late country icon’s importance in the genre and in life.
“Loretta was unabashedly honest about hardships and joys about being a wife and mother, a woman living life, loving, lying, cheating, having babies, not having babies — she sang about it all,” Hill says toward the end of the speech. “Women kind of know about that sort of thing.”
McGraw also shared personal memories during their four-and-a-half-minute speech that aired on Sunday night (Oct. 30) on CMT. He recalled Lynn’s music being the soundtrack to his childhood growing up in Start, La. His wife’s comments drew the loudest applause, however — she at times looked to go off-script to add color to meaning.
“My friendship with Loretta Lynn began about 200 feet behind this stage at the old Opry House Studio C,” Hill begins, needing to catch her breath before she starts speaking. “That’s where Loretta filmed her nightly talk show … and where this young singer with big dreams got to talk to sit, talk, laugh and sing with the force of nature and national treasure that is Loretta Lynn.”
Lynn died on Oct. 4 at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. The CMT special was a celebration and public memorial honoring her. George Strait, the Highwomen, Brandi Carlile, Jack White, Keith Urban, Tanya Tucker and Wynonna Judd were a few more artists who gathered to remember Lynn.
After noting how controversial Lynn’s songs were at the time, Hill circled back to what the legend meant for women in country music today.
“She didn’t just push boundaries for women in country music. She shredded them,” the singer says. Then she chokes up again, singing to stave off tears.
“And she was so dang wise, and funny. I am honored to have been in your presence Loretta. I am grateful to have so many memories with you. I am proud to be a woman in country music. I am proud to be a mom. I am proud to have had the privilege of following you down the musical path you blazed for all of us.”
Additional airings of Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Celebration of the Life & Music of Loretta Lynn are scheduled for Nov. 2 at 8PM ET and Nov. 6 at 11AM ET.