Morgan Wallen is back!
The 28-year-old returned to the stage for a unique Morgan Wallen and Friends headlining show at Marathon Music Works in Nashville on Wednesday (September 8) to raise money for The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Emergency Response, who have been assisting victims devastated by the recent Tennessee floods in Humphreys County and other areas of Middle Tennessee.
The event was set in writers’ round-style and artists were lined up next to each other as they performed stripped down, acoustic versions of their smash hits one by one. Lainey Wilson kicked things off with her emotional single “Things A Man Oughta Know,” followed by comedian and emcee Theo Von, who lightheartedly told fans that they were only allowed to take photos if they weren’t Wallen’s neighbors. Comedian John Crist also joined Von onstage, where the two exchanged somewhat inappropriate, yet hilarious jokes at the expense of Morgan, Cole Swindell, and other artists on the lineup.
Many of the song choices in the second round spoke to the heaviness of the event, as Dierks Bentley sang his inspiring and powerful “I Hold On;” Cole Swindell performed his perfectly fitting “You Should Be Here;” and HARDY sang his heartbreaking “Give Heaven Some Hell” that had the room of 1,800 people swaying and singing along.
Making his entrance and hitting the stage with a roar of applause, Wallen gave his biggest fans what they’ve been waiting nearly seven months for, as he delivered stunning acoustic renditions of his hits including “More Than My Hometown,” “Heartless,” “Whiskey Glasses,” and his brand-new single that was #1 most added at Country radio this week, “Sand In My Boots.”
Wallen’s talent awed both fans and artists alike when he shared that his massive hit “Chasin’ You” was the first song he’d ever written, while Bentley followed suit and poked fun at himself with the humorous reveal of the first song he’d ever written, “She Chews Tobacco (But She Won’t Choose Me)”.
Adding a fun and thrilling surprise to an already spectacular lineup, BRELAND made an unexpected appearance to perform his fan favorite “My Truck,” before joining Bentley and HARDY as they sang their current single “Beers On Me.” The concert also featured appearances from ERNEST, Ben Burgess, Lathan Warlick, and Jared Mullins.
To wrap up the emotional yet exciting evening, Wallen brought out Amy Fair, Vice President of Donor Services from The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, to present her with a $725,000 check to immediately assist victims of the recent severe storms and flooding in Humphreys County and other parts of Middle Tennessee.
“This is the most money raised so far for our fund, and it’s going to make a big difference,” Fair said. “And when we give the money to the organizations, we’re going to let them know how many of you care about them and that’s going to mean the most.”
“Well first of all, thank you guys so much for being here,” Wallen responded. “Most of you probably know that I’m a Tennessee boy. I was born and raised in Tennessee and I’m proud of it. The people here mean so much to me and I was watching the news and reading some articles and I read some stories that really touched my heart and made me feel like it could’ve been my hometown. I wanted to do something about it… Just seeing people hurtin’ man, nobody likes to see that and we’re going to try to do something about it tonight.”
The appearance marks Wallen’s first time onstage since TMZ acquired a video of the country singer using a racial slur outside his home in Nashville back in February.
The video displays Morgan being dropped off at his Tennessee house after a rowdy night out. As the country artist walked up his driveway, he shouted to his friends, “Take care of this…(slur),” referring to another person in the group. The video was captured by a doorbell camera and a neighbors cellphone.
After TMZ posted the video, the musician released an apologetic statement. “I’m embarrassed and sorry,” Morgan told the news outlet. “I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”
Aside from issuing an apology on Instagram a few weeks after, the “Whiskey Glasses” singer stayed mum on social media for a bit, before making an appearance on Good Morning America in July to sit down with Michael Strahan and open up about the video and the controversy it caused.
When describing the night the video was taken, Wallen shared in the interview that he was out with longtime friends partying.
“I was around some of my friends, and we just, we say dumb stuff together,” said Wallen. “And it was, in our minds, it’s playful … that sounds ignorant, but it..that’s really where it came from and it’s wrong.”
He further claimed that he did not mean the term in a “derogatory manner” when used to refer to one of his friends.The artist admitted that although he did not use the word frequently, it was one he has used with this specific friend group before.
“It’s one of my best friends..he was, we were all clearly drunk. I was askin’ his girlfriend to take care of him because he was drunk and he was leavin,” said Wallen.”I think I was just ignorant about it. I don’t think I sat down and was, like, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?’”
The video, taken by neighbors outside Wallen’s Nashville home, led to repercussions such as suspension from his recording contract, disqualification from some music awards shows and various radio stations pulling his music.
Currently, the 28-year-old seems to have his recording contract back and his record-breaking Dangerous: The Double Album is nominated for “Album of the Year” at the 2021 CMA Awards. The show will air on ABC on Wednesday, November 10th from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
With additional reporting from Juliet Schroder, Tiffany Goldstein and Kelly Gilmore.