Country Stars Honor Vegas Victims At CMT's Artists of the Year Ceremony

Jason Aldean

( On Wednesday evening (Oct. 18), the 2017 CMT Artists of the Year was held at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The night honored Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan but also served as an evening of hope for country fans and those affected by the devastating events over the past few months.

Following the shooting at Route 91 Harvest Festival earlier this month, the event took on a different, more unified tone. Instead of giving awards to artists and recruiting musicians to deliver speeches, organizers strived to help celebrate and uplift the human spirit by filling the program with heartfelt messages from country artists.

"We've been tested beyond our worst nightmares the past few months. Heartbroken doesn't even begin to explain how some of us feel," said Aldean, who was onstage when the shooting in Las Vegas began. "But we have proven time and again in this country that we have the power to overcome anything that threatens our way of life or our freedom. We dedicate this night to you and to everyone who's experienced loss or tragedy in the past few months. We will get through this together."

Aldean closed the 2017 CMT Artists of the Year with a powerful cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" alongside Stapleton, Urban and Little Big Town. Aldean previously played the song on Saturday Night Live but it was just as powerful the second time, providing a poignant end to a heartfelt night of music. Read more here. is an official news provider for
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