Jason Aldean was performing during the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1, when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds. Although more than six months have passed since the tragic event, the "You Make It Easy" singer reveals he still has a lot of healing to do.
"It's still tough every day, and you think about it," Aldean tells CMT. "But you never think that's something you have to deal with, and when you do, you deal with it the best you can, try and recover and move forward."
Aldean was joined in Vegas by his wife, Brittany, but Aldean reveals the tragedy united his entire family.
"Britt and I were there together," Aldean notes, "and so her and I lean on each other for that stuff. My mom, my dad, my sister, and people like that weren't there. More than anything, we were already a pretty tight family, but I think it brought us closer in a lot of ways, too. Anytime something like that happens, you can always find a silver lining in it somewhere, and good things can come out of it. I think you have to find what that is."
The Georgia native's fans have been vocal about their support for Aldean, even making a 91-page book for him, dedicating it to the victims and survivors, and inviting Aldean to return to continue his show that was cut short. Although the massacre was devastating in so many ways, Aldean says it has allowed him to have a more personal relationship with his fans.
"It's made them see me for me and more of a human other than this larger than life character," adds Aldean. "I think people have realized you go through stuff just like they do. People probably see me in a different light, which has been good."
Aldean and his band quickly fled the stage as the gunfire began, although one of his band members later found a bullet in his guitar. Although the 41-year-old would like to accommodate his fans' request to return to Sin City to finish his performance, he says there are a lot of other factors to consider.
"We've had the discussion," Aldean recently told PopCulture.com about returning to Vegas. "Sometimes it's not as easy as just snapping your fingers and going, 'OK, we'll be there next week.' It's just not the way it works. I think in a lot of ways, you've kind of got to weigh all that stuff out. Make sure that if you do go back – it's such a touchy subject to go back and do some of those things. I think you've really got to make sure you handle it the right way. You want to make sure that if you're going to go back and play that show, that the people who were there, who were the victims, and the families, those are the people that are getting to come to the show.
"It's a little bit of a process," he continued. "It's definitely something we're open to. We've talked about it. It may take a little time for us to figure it out, but we're talking about it. I can say that. We've had the discussions and sort of stomping down the road a little bit. We'll see where it goes."
Aldean's next album, Rearview Town, will be released on April 13. He will head to Vegas on April 15, for the 2018 ACM Awards, where he is nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. The ACM Awards will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 8:00 PM ET on CBS.
Photo Credit: The GreenRoom PR/Miller Mobley