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Eric Church debuts new song "Why Not Me" in tribute to Las Vegas shooting victims

Country star's tribute

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Eric Church got emotional during a tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas and debuted a song he wrote in their honor called "Why Not Me." He struggled to hold back tears as he spoke. 

Church was a headliner at the Route 91 Harvest Festival two days before a gunman opened fire on a crowd of thousands Sunday night.

During his performance Wednesday at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, Church declared: "Those were my people. Those were my fans. I didn't want to be here tonight. I didn't want to play guitar."

The singer pointed out two seats left empty in the Opry house for Sonny Melton, of Paris, Tennessee, who died, and his wife, Heather, who survived. He spoke about seeing Heather Melton talking on CNN about her slain husband. 

"She goes 'We went there to see Eric Church. Cause he was Sonny's' -- her husband who died -- 'it was his guy. And we went there to see his guy,'" said Church. "And then she said 'We have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night.'"

Church pointed out the empty seats where the couple had planned to sit at the Opry.

"I am going to tell you something, the reason I am here, the reason I am here tonight is because of Heather Melton and her husband Sonny, who died," he continued. "And every person that was there. Because let me tell you something, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw them with boots in the air. What I saw, that moment in time that was frozen, there's no amount of bullets can take away. None."