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Cole Swindell Vows to Use Music to Help People Heal After Route 91 Shooting

Cole Swindell Route 91 shooting
Christopher Polk, Getty Images for Stagecoach

Cole Swindell watched in horror with the rest of the nation as the news of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas, Nev., on Oct. 1 unfolded. Although Swindell was not at the festival when the tragedy occurred, he says he is still devastated by what happened, and vows to do all that he can to help music fans all over the country heal.

“I just know that this is what we do: We write songs, we sing them, ” Swindell shared with The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. “We’ve all had Vegas on our minds … I wasn’t there, so I don’t think you can comprehend what those folks went through without being there, but I can only imagine … I’m going to keep showing up, playing music, as long as they keep showing up. It’s a big family.”

One of the victims of the shooting, Brennan Stewart, was a singer and had recently recorded a cover of Swindell’s hit single “You Should Be Here.” Swindell discovered the cover shortly after Stewart’s death, when it started spreading around social media.

“I’ve been in contact with his family. I have a show coming up in Vegas in December. I can’t wait to get in touch with them and meet them,” Swindell shares. “It’s going to be tough, but I think that’s part of why we do this. It’s not all about being in the spotlight and having No. 1s; it’s about helping people out when they need it, whether it’s through music or not.

Remembering the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Victims

“To know that guy covered my song, was a fan of not just my music but every country artist — it’s an honor to know I’m going to get [to play] that song and think about him for a long time,” Swindell adds.

Swindell wrote “You Should Be Here” after his father died, but these days, it’s giving Swindell an opportunity to honor his musical heroes, especially those that the country music industry has recently lost.

“This has been a crazy year — the people we’ve lost. Vegas, Troy Gentry, Don Williams — there’s so many that we’ve lost,” Swindell reflects. “And to have that song that I wrote about losing my dad, knowing that now, all these people are feeling those same feelings — that’s all I ever wanted to do, was write one song that could touch somebody, help them through a tough time like country music has always done for me. I think that’s why the song’s so special for me, and always will be.”

Country Stars Respond Following Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting

NEXT: Country Music Is Always There for Us — Now We Need to Be There for It

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