The star-studded tribute featured appearances and performances from some of country music’s biggest stars, including Keith Urban, Tanya Tucker, Darius Rucker, Alan Jackson, Jack White, George Strait, Little Big Town, Margo Price, Brandi Carlile, The Highwomen, Lukas Nelson, and Lynn’s granddaughter Emmy Russell.
But, it was Alan Jackson‘s emotional performance that brought viewers and attendees to tears. Jackson took the stage to perform “Where Her Heart Has Always Been,” a song he wrote for his own mother’s funeral in 2017.
Alan Jackson recorded the song for his 2021 album Where Have You Gone and included a recording of his mom reading the Bible. In a behind-the-scenes video released a year ago, Jackson shared the story of writing “Where Her Heart Has Always Been,”
“I wrote it for her funeral….I really love that track. I tried to write it the way that I knew she would appreciate it. And then, after we had cut it, and we were just about to finalize the record, my sister sent a recording of Mama reading from the Bible, or a Christmas story, or something from a few years ago that I hadn’t heard… And I thought, ‘Well, that’d be cool to put that on there.’ So we tried to pick a little piece of that that didn’t sound so Christmassy and put it on there, on the front end, and that made it really sweet,” Jackson explained.
“It’s supposed to mean that she’s with my Daddy again, because – and I hope that’s the way people hear it – because they were just like one of those couples that were together every moment, almost, of their whole life,” added Jackson. “You know, day and night. Hardly ever apart, that I can remember. And they had a very unusual – unusual in that it was so nice and sweet, and it lasted like that.”
Loretta Lynn shared a special fondness for Alan Jackson, even making a rare public appearance in 2017 to help induct him into the Country Music Hall of Fame. During her speech, Loretta told her friend, “You’re the only thing that would have brought me here.”
She added, “The first time I ever met Alan … he looked like a scared little boy,” she says, smiling. “He was practicing backstage, going through his songs and I remember I looked at him and said, ‘You’re going to be one of the greatest singers in country music. He hadn’t let me down.”
Following Loretta Lynn’s death on October 4, Alan Jackson shared a photo of himself with Loretta with a post that read, “Sweet @lorettalynnofficial, there will never be another Honky Tonk girl like you. I’m gonna miss you. – AJ”
Watch Alan Jackson’s touching tribute performance of “Where Her Heart Has Always Been” below.