Eric Church performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Wednesday night and spoke at length about Sunday’s shooting in Las Vegas. The “Holdin’ My Own” singer was one of the Route 91 Harvest Festival headliners and dedicated a new song, “Why Not Me,” to Sonny Melton, a Tennessee man who died shielding his wife from the bullets.
Church recalled jumping into the audience to greet his fans during his Friday night set. “I shook everybody’s hand and I thanked them for coming,” he said onstage at the Opry. “I came back up the left side, saw smiling faces, hands in the air and pictures being taken … 48 hours later, those places where I stood was carnage.
“Those are my people. Those are my fans,” Church continued, tearing up and admitting he didn’t want to perform at the Opry or even play guitar. But after seeing an interview on CNN with Melton’s wife Heather talking about how her husband was a fan of Church, he was inspired to write “Why Not Me.”
Before performing the new song, he pointed out two empty seats in the Opry where the Meltons were supposed to be sitting Wednesday night: they had purchased tickets to the performance.
“The reason I’m here tonight is because of Heather Melton, and her husband Sonny who died, and every person that was there. And I’ll tell you, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the hair, with boots in the air, and that moment in time was frozen,” Church said, “and there is no amount of bullets that can take that away.”