Jason Aldean, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban + More Cover Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’ [Watch]
Jason Aldean gave a defiant closing performance at the CMT Artists of the Year ceremony in Nashville on Wednesday night (Oct. 18). He joined Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban and Little Big Town for a fiery performance of Tom Petty's classic hit, "I Won't Back Down."
The CMT Artists of the Year event launched in 2010 as a way to celebrate the most successful and influential country artists of each year, but the focus of the ceremony was different this year in response to the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The 2017 event was a "night of hope and healing" during which 2017 honorees Aldean, Luke Bryan, Urban, Florida Georgia Line and Stapleton skipped the traditional acceptance speeches and instead offered up messages of peace and unity while thanking fans for their support.
Aldean led fellow honorees Stapleton and Urban in an all-star jam on Petty's hit to close out the ceremony, which took place at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. Click the video above to watch Aldean, Stapleton and Urban trade verses while LBT provide stellar harmony vocals for the performance, which is also highlighted by Stapleton and Urban trading guitar licks.
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The jam came just 11 days after Aldean played the Petty song during an appearance on Saturday Night Live that marked his first public show since Route 91. Aldean and his band were onstage when the shooter at that festival began a rampage that ultimately killed at least 58 people and wounded more than 500 others.
Aldean also took a few minutes to deliver a defiant speech at his first full-band show back after the festival, when he took the stage at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Oct. 12.
“These people are gonna continue to try and hold us down and continue to try to do things to us that are gonna make us live in fear and be scared and not go out and do what it is we wanna do," he said, adding, "F--k you. We don’t really care what you try to say, what you try to do to us."
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