The shooting hit very close to home for Bryan, who is a close friend of Jason Aldean, who was on stage performing when the shooting started. And for Bryan, his close connection to the tragedy breaks his heart, but it also makes him want to push for change.
“There’s just got to be something we can do,” Bryan said. “From the mental health issue, to all of the issues that are causing these things.”
Being on stage, seeing the sea of fans who came to hear you sing, is what it’s all about for country stars, Bryan explained. “As entertainers, you look at your fans, and you’re not up there to do anything but connect with them.
“I was in the bed when they showed the faces of the victims, and they’re our fans, they embody America. It’s a country music festival, but it’s America,” he said. “It was one of the most heartbreaking days of my life, and for this country, too.”
His phone conversation with Aldean the morning after the shooting was not an easy one for either man. “Hearing one of your best friends shaken up like that, knowing they’ll never be able to un-see these things,” he said, “you get lumps and you get nauseated.”
CMT’s Hot 20 Countdown on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 7-8) at 9 a.m. ET will be dedicated to the victims and the heroes of the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest music festival.
Bryan and Aldean are both 2017 CMT Artists of the Year.
Bryan’s Farm Tour continues Thursday (Oct. 5) in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Aldean’s They Don’t Know Tour resumes Oct. 12 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.