On a night in which all of music came together to celebrate the amazing contributions within the industry, country stars Eric Church, Brothers Osborne and Maren Morris stepped onto the Grammy Awards stage to recognize two of the worst moments in musical history.
And it was downright beautiful.
Indeed, a hush came over the crowd at “The 60th Annual Grammy Awards” on Jan. 28 as the three artists — all of whom earned nominations this year — proceeded to provide one of the most powerful moments of the night in tribute to not only the 58 people who were killed on Oct. 1, 2017 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, but also those who were killed on May 22, 2017 in Manchester, England.
“On Oct. 1, all of country music was reminded, in the most tragic way, [of] the connection we share with our fans and the healing power music will always provide,” Eric said at the beginning of the performance.
“A few months earlier and a continent away, the same was true in Manchester, England,” Maren continued, despite some evident microphone issues. “The painful truth is that this year, in just those two events, 81 music lovers, just like us, went out to enjoy a night of music and never came back home, with many more injured and still healing. So tonight, to honor those we lost, Eric, Brothers Osborne and I — who all performed in Las Vegas that tragic weekend — wanted to come together and honor the memory of the beautiful, music-loving souls so cruelly taken from us.”
“May they all rest in peace,” concluded TJ Osborne.
The ensemble went on to perform Eric Clapton’s 1992 hit, “Tears in Heaven.”
“Live music events have always provided a safe space for fans to gather in a shared celebration of music,” said Neil Portnow, president/CEO of the Recording Academy in a statement before the performance. “Sadly, that wasn’t always the case this past year. We believe it’s incredibly important to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in these senseless tragedies and to remind musicians and music lovers alike that live music will continue to be a powerful force that unites us all.”
In the days before the Grammys, country duo Brothers Osborne weighed in on their planned performance. “I think I’ll be far more emotional than I will be nervous,” T.J. Osborne said. “That’s my worry—just getting through the performance in that regard. It’s certainly an incredible honor to not only play the Grammys, but to do it for that occasion.”
“I hope that, at the end of the day, we can help heal something at least a little bit,” added John Osborne of Brothers Osborne.
Eric also discussed the performance, which hits so very close to home since he headlined the first night of the festival that turned tragic.
“In all honesty, there’s not a day that goes by since that day that I have not thought of it and thought of the people and the victims,” Eric told the Associated Press in an interview. “That being our last show of the year, I took it in differently than I have maybe taken in other shows. I savored it. I remember everything about it. Mass shootings, they happen every year, unfortunately. But this year was a little bit unique in that you had two happen at music events, and one of those was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. It’s been a tragic year.”
“As an artist and a performer, I don’t want to be afraid to walk out on a stage each night,” Maren told the AP. “I know that we’ve all been reckoning with that for the last several months. It reinforces even more the strength of music and the community that we all share together, artists and fans alike.”