Jason Aldean and other country music stars took the stage at the 2017 CMT Artists of the Year show in Nashville on Wednesday, October 18, to honor victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting.
The “Dirt Road Anthem” singer, along with Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan, who were the five honorees at this year’s special, announced that they would be paying tribute to the victims instead of accepting awards.
Bryan said: “Music can be so powerful and we have never needed it more than we do right now. Music moves us, music brings us together, and tonight we hope music can be part of the healing.”
Tyler Hubbard from Florida Georgia Line said they would also be focusing on paying tribute to the first responders and others who helped during the tragic shooting. “Enduring tragedies like Las Vegas, so many people from concertgoers to first responders who risked their own lives for total strangers,” the singer said. “It’s in those moments, those acts of courage and heroism that bring light to even the darkest times.”
“So in some small way tonight, we want to thank you for your resolve and perhaps lift your spirits just for a moment,” Urban added. “We hope to remind you that everything we go through we can get through when we stick together.”
As previously reported, 59 people were killed and more than 500 others injured when retired accountant Stephen Paddock opened fire during the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas on October 1. Paddock was later found dead in his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Aldean, 40, who was performing when the gunman began shooting at the audience, concluded the speech, saying: “We dedicate this night to you and to everyone who has experienced loss or tragedy in the past few months. Like he said, we will get through this together.”
Some of the performances included Aldean, Urban, Stapleton and Little Big Town covering Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” as well as Common, Danielle Bradbery, Lee Ann Womack and Andra Day performing “Stand Up for Something.”