Fifty-eight people were killed and over 550 injured when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of over 20,000 at the Route 91 Harvest music festival, from the 32nd floor on an adjacent hotel in Las Vegas. The terror attack was one of the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. As always the music industry was quick to rally its sentiments. Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Alison Krauss were among those to take the stage in Nashville recently to honor the victims. So too did Carrie Underwood, as well as Celine Dion who opened her Las Vegas show with an emotional speech that paid tribute to the victims of the shooting. Strong emotional reactions have also been forthcoming from the independent music industry, with Shepard’s Way, the Indiana-based rock band recently releasing their single “58 Lights”.
Through this memorial, the band not only seeks to offer hope, encouragement, and comfort to the victims, their families, and the community at large, but contribute financial aid by donating part of the proceeds from sales of “58 Lights” directly to victims’ families and the injured.
“We were in awe of the heartfelt, immediate response to the shooting from people from all over the country, and all around the world,” said Doug Shepard, lead vocalist of Shepard’s Way. “This outpouring of love and compassion created a sense of urgency – we felt that we had to immortalize this tremendous demonstration of love and support in song. ‘58 Lights’ is a testament to how good can truly conquer evil, and signifies that the victims will forever live on in our hearts and minds.”
Disasters, war and tragic events like the Las Vegas shootings find their way into commemorative songs as a way to make sense of tragedy that defies easy explanation. There’s hopefulness in tributes, too. Moreover, unlike any other type of music, the tribute song has an added layer of responsibility: in addition to evoking emotions, these tracks also have to find beguiling ways to turn truth into art.
A task Shepard’s Way complete with dexterity and honor. They demonstrate how beauty, hope and inspiration can grow from grief. Poignant, heartfelt lyrics, elevating harmonies and vitalizing chord progressions and instrumentation, eloquently do something emotionally extraordinary in memory of others.
Music is one of the most subjective forms of art. One person’s anthem is another person’s elevator music, but this song will have many emoting at the same time. The most surprising thing is that Shepard’s Way never fall into melodramatic territory or use cliched studio trickery.
They keep the song clean, crisp, powerful and sweetly harmonious, which is the real affecting factor – This is where Doug Shepard and Anna Martinez-Shepard excel vocally. The performance of “58 Lights” can significantly influence the atmosphere, having a profound effect on your emotions. It can direct the mood whether you’re listening alone or in a gathering. Such is the power of music, when performed with honesty and integrity…