Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Little Big Town and Chris Stapleton Perform ‘I Won’t Back Down’ at 2017 CMT Artists of the Year

Since witnessing one of the most devastating mass shootings in modern United States history, Jason Aldean has adopted a new life mantra: ‘I Won’t Back Down.’ Proving that love is stronger than hate and that music heals, the Georgia native performed the Tom Petty hit of the same name during on the 2017 CMT Artists of the Year special.

Rather than taking the stage by himself, however, Aldean invited several of his artist buddies to share the spotlight with him. At his side were fellow CMT Artists of the Year Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban, as well as Little Big Town, who opened the show earlier in the evening.

The song is a message of hope and encouragement to stand up for yourself in the face of fear and hatred. Aldean previously performed the tune during a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live. The television performance marked his first time back onstage after a deranged shooter took the lives of nearly 60 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sunday, Oct. 1.

(L-R) Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Little Big Town; Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

(L-R) Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Little Big Town; Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

Since his spot on the SNL cold open, Aldean has returned to his They Don’t Know Tour, with the first performance in Tulsa, OK on Oct. 12.

“Sometimes this country can be divided. It seems like really divided a lot of time and that’s a really unfortunate thing to see. But it’s been really cool to see all the support—all the love and support—that’s been going on for the last 10 days or so because of what’s happened in Las Vegas. And I just feel like if we could do that on a daily basis, man, the world would be a lot better place,” he said in part on stage.

The 2017 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony was amended to be a night of hope and healing to encourage fans to give back to their communities after several devastating events in the past several months. Covering the September hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria), the Las Vegas shooting, and more presently, the wildfires in California, CMT is encouraging people to visit CMTonecountry.com to find out how they can help.