Cole Swindell sees a lot of himself in Brennan Stewart when he watches this video of the country fan covering Cole’s poignant No. 1 hit, “You Should Be Here.”

The 30-year-old Las Vegas native was one of the 58 fans who were killed when a gunman opened fire on the audience at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in the city on Oct. 1. That video of Brennan covering “You Should Be Here,” was posted just about a year before the tragedy. Needless to say, that song and video have now taken on a whole new meaning for his loved ones, and for Cole as well.

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Cole has thought of little else since he first saw Brennan’s video just a few days after the attack. The country star tells Rare Country, “To know he was a fan of music like me, we were probably a lot alike. I never had the chance to meet him, but to know that he was singing that song probably thinking about somebody else he had lost, and now, here I am gonna be singing it tonight thinking about him. He’s probably singing that up in heaven right now saying the same thing.”

Cole has reached out to Brennan’s family via social media, and he wants to connect with them in person when he plays a show in Las Vegas this December.

“I’m going to make sure I get in touch with them, and just give ’em a big hug,” Cole says. “There’s no words for situations like this.”

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Getting back onstage after what happened in Las Vegas has been tough for a lot of country artists, including Cole. He knows a lot of fans are probably concerned about going to concerts, too.

“It gives me chills right here just thinking about it,” Cole admits. “It’s a scary time. But I think country music, the fans, it’s a big family, and I think we take what happened in Vegas very personal … If anything, staying in, not coming out, that’s not what those folks [who died] would want us to do. I know they’d want us going to concerts, having fun. We’re not going to change the way we live because of one evil act by a coward. We’re gonna keep making music, and we’re here for the fans through the good and the bad.”

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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