In times of trouble, worry and fear, people often run to the place that makes them feel safe—church. And as many in Nashville struggled to cope with their emotions following the Oct. 1 massacre in Las Vegas, they ran to country music’s mother church, the Ryman Auditorium, for a night of music and healing with a Texas country star, headliner Aaron Watson.
With a lineup of singers and songwriters, including Jon Wolfe, Mickey Guyton, Leslie Satcher and Jim Collins, all hailing from Texas, you might have expected that the night would be riddled with swinging dancehall favorites, two-stepping tempos and dreamy waltzes. And you wouldn’t be far from correct.
But you also wouldn’t know Aaron Watson.
A devout Christian, fun-loving cowboy and baseball fanatic, Aaron is also the father of three beautiful children. But it should have been four. Six years ago, Aaron and wife Kim lost their baby girl, Julia Grace, shortly after she was born.
Following her passing, the singer-songwriter put pen to paper and wrote a song to honor his daughter. But now, “Bluebonnets (Julia’s Song)” from Aaron’s much-heralded No. 1 album, “The Underdog,” has taken on new meaning. In the wake of the disastrous shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, fans are leaning on the beautiful song for its message of hope and faith.
It was obvious during the Texas takeover of the Ryman on Oct. 4. As Aaron’s band began the intro to “Bluebonnets,” the singer stepped to the mic and dedicated his performance to all of the victims in Las Vegas. But he also sent it out to those recovering from the recent hurricanes, and to country stars Troy Gentry and Don Williams, who recently passed, and the magnitude of realizing how many recent losses there have been was overwhelming.
It's been such a year of loss. Last night @aaronwatsonmusic dedicated his performance of "Bluebonnets" – a profoundly personal song for him – to all of those affected by the Vegas shooting and the hurricanes, and to the recent passing of Troy Gentry and Don Williams. @theryman was lit up from the glow of cell phones, but there seemed to be another kind of light in the Mother Church as well. #AaronWatson #Bluebonnets -#TexasNightAtTheRyman -#GodBlessTheWorld
As fans blotted tears and raised their cell phones to light up the Ryman, there seemed to be a unity and peace.
And Aaron, we thank you for that.
Life really is like bluebonnets in the spring…
”We’re only here for a little while.
It’s beautiful and bittersweet,
so make the most of every mile.
So pack light and love heavy
give it all your heart and soul
so, in the end, you won’t regret one thing.
Life is like bluebonnets in the spring.”