If you tuned into Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, you saw country singer Maren Morris performing a tribute to those we lost due to violence at concerts in the past year. That includes the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas last October. Eric Church and Brothers Osborne were there with her onstage singing a cover of Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” as messages from the victims’ loved ones appeared on the screen behind them.
It was a very emotional and raw moment in the show. All three country acts had performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in the days leading up to the shooting, which killed 58 country fans and injured hundreds more.
The moment was poignant, but focused on healing the emotional wounds from those horrific events.
Brothers Osborne wrote on Instagram, “So grateful to have gotten to play the 60th annual Grammy Awards and to honor the lives affected by last year’s tragic events. We love and appreciate every one of you and, as always, music heals.”
A few hours before that performance, Maren Morris became one of the only acts who performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival to speak out in favor of talking about changing gun laws.
She told “Rolling Stone” just hours before the Grammy Awards, “Having this open conversation about gun rights would be a start, [as well as] changing legislation.”
While many country artists have talked about emotional healing in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, Maren challenges them to also start talking about ways to prevent a massacre like that one from happening again.
She said, “We need to protect ourselves and our children, and I want the county music community to get brave and talk about it. I feel like the floodgates are starting to open, where people are comfortable talking about it. Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy like Vegas to start that conversation, but I’m hoping it impacts positive change from now on so we never have to see this again.”
While artists more on the fringes of modern country music, including Margo Price and Rosanne Cash, have spoken out about gun control, most mainstream country artists have opted not to publicly discuss the topic for fear of alienating their fans.
Back in 2015, Tim McGraw was criticized by some country fans for performing at a benefit concert put on by the families of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Connecticut. Billy Currington was slated to be on that show, but he pulled out, explaining that he didn’t want to take on a controversial issue.
I've never been one to take on controversial issues – I'm a singer. I do feel strongly about honoring and supporting the…
For Maren, she sees the effects of the Las Vegas shooting still being felt by those in the country music community who lived through that horrific night. She hopes her performance on the Grammy Awards with Eric and Brothers Osborne helps them in the healing process.
“I’ve talked to so many people who fled the scene of the Vegas tragedy and got out OK, but they are suffering from PTSD,” Maren said. “I mean – they were being shot at for 20 minutes. I hope this inspires them a little bit … to not be afraid to go to festivals or to shows, or for performers to not be afraid to walk out onto a stage.”