As every heart still reels from the senseless, despicable tragedy and loss of Sunday's Las Vegas shooting, which happened at a concert meant for memories, many of Country Music's brightest stars gathered to remind victims that they are not alone. Nashville is a long way from the Las Vegas Strip, but all distance disappeared Monday night during a candlelight vigil in Music City.

Patrons and performers who were present raised funds for the victims and their families, but more than that, they raised hope, reminding everyone of the healing power in the simple strumming of acoustic guitar strings, or a soaring a cappella voice.

Music and its power to bring people together were the good elements at work on Sunday night, and the same truths are gathering people in the wake of national sorrow, leaving comfort and hope to move on and to remember.

Truth in tears

“It's country music. It's the one thing that's always been at the center – we’re family, it is community,” Keith Urban spoke to those gathered at dusk. No one in the assembly tried or wanted to hold back tears.

Instead, the emotion flowed like Urban’s chords and his chorus on Bridge over Troubled Water.

The performers who took the stage for the Route 91 Harvest music festival are struggling just as deeply and feeling just as confounded as everyone there to enjoy the show, and they are grieving along with the entire country. Country music radio host, Bobby Bones, called the recurring event “the most fun festival we ever played.” Still, in an instant, the joy and spontaneity that drew so many acts back to the stage evaporated into pure terror.

Jason Aldean, who was Sunday's headliner, poured out his heart in an Instagram post, saying that this world “is becoming the kind of place I’m afraid to raise my children in.” He capitalized “Country” for emphasis beyond his music genre as he continued, calling for unity as “ONE.” Tour mate, Jake Owen, experienced the fear right along with fans as he wound his way from the opposite end of the stage to his tour bus.

Moving from hate to hope

Being willing to work through the myriad of emotions is all part of the healing process, and another festival star, Maren Morris, is doing her part. She posted her song, “Dear Hate” on Monday afternoon. The song was written three years ago and recorded last year with esteemed veteran Vince Gill, who also was among the performers for the vigil. Music has a sense of its own, and this is the season when this open letter ballad is so desperately needed.

“There's hate everywhere, and I'm sick of not doing enough,” Morris explained. All proceeds of the song will directly go to the shooting victims and their families, to be channeled through the Music City Cares Fund. Morris elaborated on the gift of music to give strength. “In the darkest tunnel, there is still love and music. That's what it's here for,” she emphatically relates.

Vince Gill wept when he performed “Go Rest High on That Mountain” at The Grand Ole Opry memorial service for George Jones, and this night, too, was a time for weeping and remembering, to the same beautiful song.

Those tears, though, can be cleansers of hate and anger and reclaiming agents of strength and hope. Allison Krauss closed the evening with a powerful and soulful “Amazing Grace,” and that is the gift every soul needs most now, and the one that music brings most abundantly.

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