Dierks Bentley, the recipient of the 2018 CRS Artist Humanitarian Award, gave a keynote speech at the seminar on Feb. 5, following the ceremony honoring his humanitarian and charitable efforts over the years. The theme of self-reflection was at the forefront of the "Woman, Amen" singer's mind, both because he was receiving the award and due to the fact that his latest album, The Mountain, deals prominently with the concepts of introspection and taking stock.

In that vein, during his talk, Bentley took a look back on 2017. It was a tumultuous year overall, and a particularly difficult one for country music following the shooting that took place in Las Vegas during the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, which left 58 people dead and hundreds more injured.

"It's hard to process," Bentley said of the tragedy during his CRS keynote speech. "I went to Vegas about 10 days after the shooting and played a show for 250 first responders. Just hearing their stories, what they'd been going through, and also the fact that they're still going to shows and what those shows mean to them -- they're tough people.

"It really affected me being around them," Bentley adds. "But country music, like no other genre of music, is there as a friend [in times like these.]"

During difficult times, the singer hopes to share a message of hope. For his fellow artists who tour with him, he wants to make the atmosphere backstage at his shows a bright spot in everyone's summer; for those listening, he hopes to create the same kind of space within his new album.

"There's a lot of life to [the record]," Bentley explains. "Being open to the ideas of hope and gratitude. Being present and being alive."

Remembering the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Victims