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NEW YORK - On a night in which all of music came together to celebrate the amazing contributions within the industry, country stars Eric Church, Brothers Osborne and Maren Morris took the Grammy Awards stage to recognize two of the worst moments in music history.
A hush came over the crowd at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday as the nominated artists performed a tribute to the 58 people who were killed Oct. 1, 2017 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas and those who were killed May 22, 2017 in Manchester, England.
“On Oct. 1, all of country music was reminded of the connection we share with our fans and the healing power of music that music will always provide,” Church said at the beginning of the performance.
“A few months earlier and a continent away, the same thing happened in Manchester, England,” Maren said. “We wanted to come together to honor the memory of those beautiful, music-loving souls that were taken from us.”
“May they all rest in peace,” TJ Osborne said.
The ensemble went on to perform Eric Clapton’s 1992 hit, “Tears in Heaven.”
Related: Photos: 2018 Grammy Awards
“Live music events have always provided a safe space for fans to gather in a shared celebration of music,” Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy said a statement before the show. “Sadly, that wasn’t always the case this past year. We believe it’s incredibly important to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in these senseless tragedies and to remind musicians and music lovers alike that live music will continue to be a powerful force that unites us all.”
Country duo Brothers Osborne spoke to The Tennesseean about their planned performance days before the show. “I think I will be far more emotional than nervous,” T.J. Osborne said. “That’s really my worry is getting through the performance in that regard. It’s an incredible honor to not only play the Grammys, but to do it for that occasion.”
“At the end of the day, I hope we can help heal something at least a little bit,” John Osborne said.
Church also discussed the performance, which hits close to home since he headlined the first night of theLas Vegas festival that turned tragic.
“In all honesty, there’s not a day that goes by since that day that I have not thought of it and thought of the people and the victims,” Church told The Associated Press. “That being our last show of the year, I took it in differently than I have maybe taken in other shows. I savored it. I remember everything about it. Mass shootings, they happen every year, unfortunately. But this year was a little bit unique in that you had two happen at music events and one of those was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. It’s been a tragic year.”
“As an artist and a performer, I don’t want to be afraid to walk out on a stage each night,” Morris said in a separate interview with The AP. “I know that we’ve all been reckoning with that for the last several months. It reinforces even more the strength of music and the community that we all share together, artists and fans alike.”