Country stars offer solemn tribute to Route 91 victims at Grammys

Wendy Geller
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Country music stars Eric Church, Maren Morris, and Brothers Osborne gathered together to stun the crowd at the 2018 Grammy Awards on Sunday night (Jan. 28), delivering an emotional tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting on Oct. 1, 2017.

Morris, who was up for Best Country Solo Performance that night, ushered in the performance with a few pointed comments about the gun tragedies that took place in 2017.

“A few months earlier and a continent away, the same was true in Manchester, England,” she said, referring to the violent episode at Ariana Grande’s show on May 22, 2017. “The painful truth is that this year, in just those two events, 81 music lovers just like us went out to enjoy a night of music, and never came back home, with many more injured and still healing.

“So, tonight, to honor those we lost, Eric, Brothers Osborne and I, who all performed in Las Vegas that tragic weekend, wanted to come together to honor the memory of the beautiful, music-loving souls so cruelly taken from us.”

All four of the artists on stage then launched into a subdued version of Eric Clapton’s 1991 hit, “Tears in Heaven,” which he famously wrote to cope with the accidental death of his 4-year-old son.

Morris, the Osbornes, and Church were among the performers at Las Vegas’s Route 91 Harvest Festival, where a shooting rampage began during Jason Aldean’s headlining set on the third and final night of the festival, when a gunman firing into the audience killed 58 people and left more than 700 wounded.

Morris released a song called “Dear Hate” in the wake of the mass shooting and donated the proceeds to charity, while Church also wrote a tribute song called “Why Not Me.” The incident touched the country music community profoundly, even drawing controversy surrounding the annual Country Music Association Awards, which initially said that it would not allow the media to ask questions about the shooting, but later reversed that restriction.

The 60th annual Grammy Awards took place in New York City on Jan. 28.