Keith Urban is revealing how he’s been supporting friend Jason Aldean and how the country music community is coming together in the wake of the horrific mass shooting that left 59 people dead and hundreds more injured after a gunman opened fire as Aldean performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on October 1.
Keith, who’s been very vocal about how country music fans and artists are banding together in the wake of the tragedy, recently opened up about how he’s been in contact with Jason as he comes to terms with the tragedy and how the upcoming CMT Artists of the Year Awards will honor those affected.
“I texted [Jason] the day after Vegas and that’s just an indescribable thing to go through for everybody, but to be on stage and sing now too,” Urban told Entertainment Tonight this week.
He then suggested that all those being honored during the CMT award show – which is set to air live from Nashville tonight (October 18) – will sing together during the live broadcast.
“We’re going to all be joining him I think,” the country star revealed.
“So, solidarity. [Country music] is a community and you really feel it in times like this, whether it’s weather-related or just insanity in Vegas-related — we really rally as a community,” the “Blue Ain’t Your Color” singer then continued.
After Billboard recently confirmed that the show will be no longer be handing out awards and will instead pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the massacre – which has been described as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history – Keith admitted that he thinks it’s “important” for the country music community to remember those caught up in the Las Vegas tragedy earlier this month.
“I thought it was important… to acknowledge the importance of the fans, the audience,” Urban told the outlet of changing the format of the award show to reflect the horrific event.
“What happened in Vegas was our community, our family, so I think we all agreed it was really important for us to highlight their importance in our lives.”
Urban last performed at the festival, which takes place annually in Las Vegas across from the Mandalay Bay hotel where the gunman opened fire, two years ago in 2015.
Keith was set to be honored at the show alongside fellow country superstars Aldean, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, and Florida Georgia Line.
But this isn’t the first time Keith has spoken candidly about his heartbreak following the Las Vegas shooting or how the country music community has banded together over the shooting.
Just one day after the mass shooting, which happened as Jason took to the stage, Urban performed at a Nashville vigil for the Vegas victims where he emotionally recalled how he told his oldest daughter about what had happened at the Route 91 Harvest Festival just hours earlier.
Telling mourners who had gathered to pay tribute to the victims how he broke the devastating news to his and Nicole Kidman’s 9-year-old daughter Sunday Rose, Keith revealed how he became emotional as he drove the youngster to school the morning after the shooting.
“My 9-year-old, as I was driving her to school this morning, said to me, ‘Dad, you seem quiet.’ I said, ‘Yeah, a lot of people [were] killed last night,'” Urban said at the Las Vegas vigil in Music City per Ace Showbiz. “She said, ‘Did you know any of them?’ and I said, ‘Not that I know of.'”
Admitting that Sunday then asked him why he was so sad if he didn’t personally know the victims, Keith said, “‘First of all, these were innocent people horrifically taken. Secondly, they’re like family.'”
“It’s the one thing about country music that’s always been the center of it – it’s a community,” Urban continued while addressing those attending the Nashville vigil. “So I did know those people, in that way.”
The CMT Artists of the Year Awards show will air live on October 18 from 8/7c on CMT with a special tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
[Featured Image by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM]