It was a great time, and it was an emotional time. It was packed with music and joy, and it was brimming with sadness and tears. Any way you look at it, though, the Country Cares Concert, held Monday night (July 22) in Prescott Valley, Ariz., was a rousing success.
Featuring country stars Dierks Bentley, The Band Perry, David Nail, and Randy Houser, the sold-out concert wound up raising more than $476,000 for families of 19 veteran Arizona firefighters (known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots) who tragically perished last month in the Yarnell Hill wildfire near Prescott. Many of those family members were in attendance during the concert as well.
“It’s a real honor to be able to come up here and be asked to be part of this event to raise the spirits of this community and these folks but also to raise some money and give back to these families,” Bentley said backstage before the show.
David Nail began the evening, followed by Randy Houser. Then KMLE called Brendan McDonough to the stage to present him with a special Hometown Hero belt buckle. The 21-year-old McDonough is the only member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots to have survived the wildfire.
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Following the presentation, The Band Perry took the stage and quickly brought a tear to every eye with “If I Die Young.” The trio then picked up the pace with their current No. 1 single “Done.”
For his headlining performance, Bentley mixed upbeat songs of his like “Free and Easy” and “5-1-5-0” with slower, more emotional material. He also played selections from his upcoming album Riser, including the first-ever live performance of the brand-new “Here on Earth.” It turned out to be one of the most moving moments of the night, as the song was accompanied by a slide show honoring the 19 firefighters.
Dierks then finished the show with a special rendition of his 2012 hit “Home,” featuring the Rural Metro Pipe and Drum Corp.
In addition to the concert, KMLE is also holding a Country Cares Auction to benefit the firefighters’ families.