It was a great time, and it was an emotional time. It was packed with music and joy, and it was brimming with sadness and tears. Any way you look at it, though, the Country Cares Concert, held Monday night (July 22) in Prescott Valley, Ariz., was a rousing success.

Featuring country stars Dierks BentleyThe Band PerryDavid Nail, and Randy Houser, the sold-out concert wound up raising more than $476,000 for families of 19 veteran Arizona firefighters (known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots) who tragically perished last month in the Yarnell Hill wildfire near Prescott. Many of those family members were in attendance during the concert as well.

The benefit concert was organized by Bentley (an Arizona native) along with CBS Phoenix station KMLE Country 107.9 and northern Arizona’s 92.9 KAFF Country.

“It’s a real honor to be able to come up here and be asked to be part of this event to raise the spirits of this community and these folks but also to raise some money and give back to these families,” Bentley said backstage before the show.

Related: Watch KMLE’s backstage interviews with Dierks Bentley and The Band Perry

David Nail began the evening, followed by Randy Houser. Then KMLE called Brendan McDonough to the stage to present him with a special Hometown Hero belt buckle. The 21-year-old McDonough is the only member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots to have survived the wildfire.

Following the presentation, The Band Perry took the stage and quickly brought a tear to every eye with “If I Die Young.” The trio then picked up the pace with their current No. 1 single “Done.”

Kimberly Perry at the Country Cares Concert Kimberly Perry at the Country Cares Concert (photo by Randall Tyree/KMLE)

For his headlining performance, Bentley mixed upbeat songs of his like “Free and Easy” and “5-1-5-0” with slower, more emotional material. He also played selections from his upcoming album Riser, including the first-ever live performance of the brand-new “Here on Earth.” It turned out to be one of the most moving moments of the night, as the song was accompanied by a slide show honoring the 19 firefighters.

Dierks Bentley at the Country Cares Concert Dierks Bentley at the Country Cares Concert (Rick Diamond/Getty Images )

Read more about the Country Cares Concert on


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