This Wednesday night’s show at the Grand Ole Opry often seemed as much like a traditional Wednesday night prayer meeting, as it did a performance on country music’s most famous stage.
The Opry’s maroon curtain rose to a moment of silence, as the iconic radio show remembered the 58 people who lost their lives and the nearly 500 who were injured, during Jason Aldean’s set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival Sunday night in Las Vegas.
“Tonight we are standing on the circle that cannot be broken,” Opry host Jeannie Seely said, referring to the historic piece of wood transplanted from the Opry’s longtime home at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. “We are country music strong,” she added, seguing into the anthem, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Even though they’re busy filming the next season of CMT’s Nashville, Charles Esten and Clare Bowen came to the stage to sing “Sanctuary.”
“There is nothing more important than our fans,” Trace Adkins assured the crowd, before delivering the Don Williams’ classic, “‘Til the Rivers All Run Dry.”
Some of the evening’s most poignant moments came from two people who’d played the outdoor festival in the days leading up to the violence, newcomer Ashley McBryde and headliner Eric Church.
“You don’t change country music, it changes you,” McBryde said, echoing the resolve that the tragedy won’t alter the genre’s close-knit landscape.
Then Eric proved what music can often do best — soothe you with a song — as he offered a moving version of Leonard Cohen’s classic, “Hallelujah.”
You can sample Eric’s performance, as well as many more moments from the night, on the Opry’s socials.
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