Nashville’s biggest stars united Sunday night for COUNTRY RISING, raising more than four million dollars to support charitable initiatives for those affected by the September 2017 hurricanes as well as victims of the recent shooting in Las Vegas. From top to bottom, the production was as big as the talent that took the stage at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, including host Bobby Bones and performers Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Chris Stapleton, George Strait, Keith Urban and surprise guest Jon Pardi. Additionally, Garth Brooks sent in a special video from Spokane, WA where he donated proceeds from the night’s two shows.
Lady Antebellum opened the show with some of their biggest chart-toppers as well as an ode to Tom Petty as the trio covered “Learning To Fly,” followed by host Bobby Bones welcoming the crowd. “Our country has been hit hard by tragedy this year,” Bones said. “It’s affected our families. It’s affected our friends. It’s affected the Country music community, but even during those hard times what we always try to do is find the good and make the difference, and tonight we’re trying to make the difference.”
Sam Hunt performed a medley of his biggest hits, as well as a unifying chorus of “This Land Is Your Land.” Martina McBride belted out timely songs including “Love’s The Only House” while Keith Urban brought energy to the stage as he interacted with the crowd and performed his soulful “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” Dierks Bentley’s set included his powerful song “Riser,” which he dedicated to the first responders and the community for rallying together and rising up in the midst of tragedy, also surprising the crowd by bringing out special guest Jon Pardi who performed “Dirt On My Boots.”
Jason Aldean took the stage for a significant set, acknowledging the shooting in Vegas that personally affected him.
“It’s been a rough couple months for us up here, and it’s a lot of fun to get back out and play for the people who matter which is you guys,” said Aldean. “I love getting up every day and playing music, and I’ll be damned if anybody out there will ever stop me from doing that.”
Little Big Town performed some of their biggest hits including their smash “Better Man” while Chris Stapleton’s set included his poignant “Broken Halos,” as he announced that he and his wife Morgane are donating $250,000 to the cause.
Reba McEntire’s performance included her tenacious “Going Out Like That” while Garth Brooks sent a surprise special video performing “Callin’ Baton Rouge” from Spokane, WA, donating proceeds from the night’s shows.
George Strait closed out the evening with his beloved hits including “Amarillo By Morning.”
Fans across the country unable to attend the benefit can continue to give by texting ‘NASHVILLE’ to 41010, by donating at www.CountryRising.org or by purchasing merchandise HERE. All proceeds raised will go toward the Country Rising Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which was established to support charitable initiatives to help victims of the September 2017 hurricanes — Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria. Additionally, the fund will also envelop victims of the recent shooting in Las Vegas. In the course of rebuilding lives disrupted by these devastating events, there are immediate needs and there also will be long-term needs.
COUNTRY RISING has also been supported by sponsors Citi, Texas Roadhouse, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, BMI, Budweiser, Frost, City National Bank, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store™, Sony Pictures Animation’s THE STAR, WME and Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Additional local businesses including Vintage Sparkle Furniture Rental, Events Plus, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, Black Tie Moving, Virago, Hattie B’s, Copper Whisk Cakes, Tin Roof, Dry House, Love and Lion, Foot and Salt Spa, HH Events and Revive Nashville have also stepped up to support the cause.
all photo credit: Getty Images