ABC/Image Group LA After wrapping his What the Hell Tour in early September with Cole Swindell and Jon Pardi, Dierks Bentley has been home in Nashville readying his next album. But when gunman Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 more at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sunday, Dierks says it stopped him in his tracks.
“I’m having a hard time even physically moving right now,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I had to take Twitter off my phone because I’ve just been looking at it for two days straight. It’s just the heaviest, darkest thing I can remember since 9/11.”
Dierks echoes what other country artists have been feeling, whether they played the outdoor stage in Vegas this year or not.
“Those fans are all family to us,” the Arizona native asserts. “It’s a community like no other, and I’m sure I know some people that were killed or wounded.”
“We see a lot of the same faces on the road. It’s a really tight group,” he adds. “The boundaries between the audience and the stage are thin, metaphorically, in country music.”
Though he clearly loves his fans and loves what he does for a living, Dierks admits he’s glad he’s not on tour right now.
“Fortunately, I’m off the road for a little while,” he says candidly. “I would have to dig really deep to walk onto a stage right now. I have a lot of respect for artists who are out there helping fans heal and playing shows.”
Jason Aldean — who was onstage when the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history started — has called off his concerts this weekend, out of respect for the victims of the attack. He’ll next take the stage on Thursday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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