In the wee hours of Sunday morning, a lone gunman entered Pulse—a gay club in Orlando, Fla.—with an AR-15 rifle, opened fire, and killed 49 people, injuring 53 more, before being shot and killed by a SWAT team.
In the hours following the shooting, which would later be categorized as the worst mass shooting in America’s modern history, it would be discovered that the shooter’s name was Omar Mateen, and he had declared allegiance to the Islamic State via a 911 call the morning of the shooting. Later, IS would take responsibility for the attack.
The event prompted social media reaction among many groups. Country musicians, long-known for their ties to American culture and patriotism, were no different.
Several artists expressed their condolences on Twitter and Facebook on Sunday and into the following day on Monday.
However, some artists entered into the political ring, expressing more than “thoughts and prayers” for the victims and their families.
Others, like country DJ Bobby Bones, started an effort to begin the healing, starting the hashtag #musicistherapy. He had several country artists play songs live on his show Monday morning as a tribute to the lives lost in the shooting.
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Gone Country aims to thoughtfully explore the country music genre and where it’s headed, with a focus on national trends and buzzworthy news of the week. For info about album releases and concerts, check out this week’s Country Music Roundup.