It isn’t likely that anyone involved with country music—artist, executive or fan—will ever forget that terrifying night in October when a deranged gunman showered bullets on thousands of country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. And although several country stars were there that night, it isn’t likely that anyone will remember it quite like Jason Aldean does.
The country star was deep into his set when the first round of shots rang out from a window at nearby Mandalay Bay. With his in-ear monitors muting any sound other than his band and his onstage techs, Jason, who was soon to be a father again, was unaware of what was happening until a member of his band came out to where he was onstage and told him to run.
We know that Jason stepped away from the spotlight for a couple of days to begin processing what happened that night, but he didn’t do it without the support of his country music pals. One of them, Darius Rucker, reached out to his friend the day after the shooting. And during an appearance on “The View,” he remembers that conversation.
“He was pretty shook-up,” Darius said. “I talked to him the day after, we were texting each other. He was shaken up. I can’t imagine that.” He went on to say, “For the rest of his career before he steps onstage, he’s going to think about that. When it happened, my son said to me, ‘Dad, that could have been you up there.’ And I went, ‘Wow, yeah, it really could have been me.’”
Darius then added, “It’s sad that we’re there and Jason handled it so well. He did his thing and I love him and I’m proud of him. I feel bad for him.”
Before the tragedy in Las Vegas, Darius had already been thinking about bucket lists—that list of accomplishments and adventures that a person hopes to experience in their lifetime. To help promote his newest single, “For the First Time,” the South Carolina native has been busy ticking a few fun ones off of his list, including visiting a psychic with Rare Country’s Hunter Kelly. Now the former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman admits that he’d like to “sing the hook on a big rap song.”
We get it, Darius. Sometimes it’s fun to just bust a groove.
Fortunately, the warm-hearted and lovable Darius didn’t leave without treating the studio and TV audiences to a performance of “For the First Time.” And while he may one day deliver that big rap hook with Ludacris or Chance the Rapper, we aren’t one bit afraid that he’s leaving country behind.