Like most of America, Jake Owen didn't catch much sleep last night. The senseless and tragic Las Vegas shooting was keeping the country awake, but in Jake Owen's mind, the memories are much more raw and personal, just as they are for the 22,000 fans that gathered for the last night of the Route 91 Harvest music festival on October 1.

Jake Owen was there as one of the major artists in support of the headliner Jason Aldean for the evening, and no amount of star power could prevent the sheer terror of the moment when gunshots reigned down from above.

Calling to home and heaven

At the time of this writing, the tragic toll of the loss stands at 59 dead and 516 injured, per NBC News reports. In his initial Twitter messages four hours ago, Jake Owen made an open and heartfelt appeal to “pray to God,” and also wrote a message to his young daughter, “Love you Pearl.”

The throng of fans looking forward to a night of dancing, singing along, and sharing memories with family had all those anticipations shattered when they and Owen heard the ricochet of gunshots only five songs into Jason Aldean's set. “You could hear bullets starting to hit the roof of the stage,” says the singer, who remembers “people fleeing everywhere” trying to escape the gunshots that sounded as though they were “coming from all around us” before Las Vegas police tracked the shooter to a 32nd floor room at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino.

The crooner famous for the cozy, romantic songs “Anywhere With You” and “Alone With You” probably wished he was home for a “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” another one of his big songs, instead of dodging fire and fearing for his own, his band’s, his friends,' and his fans’ lives. Jake Owen has been open with fans, even from the stage, about the pain of his recent divorce, but sentiments for home and family abide.

No amount of venue security could have prevented 64-year-old Stephen Paddock from aiming his arsenal of weapons from his window 400 yards away, and wreaking havoc on lives forever. Choices will have to be made about further sacrifices to personal freedom in order to prevent luggage packed with from entering public places, but music and memories should never be curtailed.

Far from safety

Jake Owen shared that “We are OK. Others are not,” in a later post from his bus. He reflected that Jason Aldean did not seem to realize the real danger of gunfire until one of his crew alerted him, and then he stopped, stunned, before running off stage.

In the confusion and chaos, Owen ran off the opposite end of the stage rather than the one that would take him just a few moments’ walk to his bus. He joined many fans’ in the 10-minute intervals between rounds. For a time, the singer was crouched behind a squad car with 20 others. It's no wonder that his thanks to the LVPD were so sincere.

Jake Owen will always have traces of the horrific night of fear within him, but he also knows what he is meant to do.

I'm just someone who writes songs and sings,” he tossed into the conversation, almost carelessly. In times of trouble, the songs of hope, love, and family are lifelines to all who are holding firm through life’s battles. No one should ever stop the music.