Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, & Bobby Bones Share Personal Connections to Vegas and Hurricane Tragedies at Country Rising

John Shearer/Country Rising/Getty Images

Lady Antebellum perform onstage for the Country Rising Benefit Concert at Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 12, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.

Country music has long had a history of giving back in times of need. And, over the past few months – from storm damage in Houston, Florida, and the tropics to those affected by the October 1 shootings in Las Vegas, there have been many opportunities for artists within the genre to give of their time and talent for those affected by the recent tragedies.

Last night (Nov. 12) saw many of country’s artists doing just that, with Keith Urban, Jon Pardi, George Strait, and Reba McEntire lending their talents to Country Rising, a benefit concert held at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena that was organized to help people affected by the events of recent months. Each of the artists felt a personal need to do their part, and Billboard was backstage to talk with a few of those who were on stage last night about what the evening meant to them.

Lady Antebellum

Charles Kelley: The Vegas event specifically, right after it happened, I sent a text to Jason Aldean. I just wanted to tell him that we loved him, and he said ‘I hope you guys never have to experience that fear.’ Obviously, shootings happen a lot, but that one hit. We were more connected to it, and it made us feel something really strong inside for the fans.

With the hurricanes, we had just shot our videos for ‘You Look Good’ and ‘Heartbreak’ in Puerto Rico. All of our extras were locals there. We were just there, and to think of the idea that it’s almost completely devastated is wild.

Dave Haywood: Due to Hurricane Harvey, we had to cancel our show. We had a huge show in the Woodlands, and we had to cancel that.

Hillary Scott: We’ve got family around Houston, and thankfully, everyone was safe, and everything was intact, but that wasn’t the case for a lot of people. No matter if you know somebody specifically who has been impacted or not, it doesn’t change the fact that we all need to do everything that we can to raise money. A lot of it isn’t in the press daily anymore, and this event comes at the perfect time to re-iterate the need and that we as Country Music artists and the Country Music community, we want to rally together to do that.

Dierks Bentley

My brother lives in Houston, and I’ve got a lot of friends down in Texas.

In Vegas, I know a lot of the fans. The line between country singers and their fans is very blurred, and very thin. I’m not for sure if I knew anyone personally among the fans. When CNN did a special on it, I tried watching it as much as I could. It was hard to watch, but I tried to see if I recognized any of the faces -- I’m sure I knew some of those fans. Of the ones that were shot, I definitely knew some of those folks.

Bobby Bones

For me, it’s very weird. One, I’m on the radio. Two, I’m also on the road. I’m talking to the fans, and then I’m also out performing for the fans on the weekends doing stand-up.  I’m looking at it through both directions – especially when Las Vegas happened. I played there the night before, so I could at least set the scene. I had the contacts to talk to my friends who had played the day before and were still there.

And, my listeners  - who weren’t in music – were coming out of the hospital. I had all of these worlds that were colliding with each other, artists that I had played with, artists who had played that night. Fans who were there, so there were friends and fans that had been injured , co-workers who had been injured – either mentally or physically. So for me to be able to take all of those, and shine the light on it from multiple angles helps them and I think educates them on what happened, and maybe it helps them give.

A lot of these artists didn’t want to talk about it, and I completely understood.  I don’t know if I would have wanted to either, except for the fact that it was my job. Not only was I talking about it, but I experienced it with the artists. It was a weird and sad thing, but I’m glad that everybody got together.

You see the country music community come together a lot – we’re always a close-knit community, but when something needs to be addressed, we need to remind people, and that’s what tonight is.


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