Tucker Beathard has a tradition of debuting a never-before-heard song every time he plays at the Grand Ole Opry. His Saturday night (Feb. 22) performance was no exception, although from stage, Beathard admitted that it's always nerve-wracking to bring a brand-new song to the hallowed venue.

"Every time I get up here, I'm like, 'Man, why'd I make that a tradition? That's the worst idea,'" the singer joked.

This time around, Beathard's new song was an especially difficult choice because it deals with the death of his younger brother, Clay Beathard, who was murdered outside a downtown Nashville bar in December.

"My world was rocked in December. My little brother passed away," Beathard told the crowd. "I don't wanna say I lost him, because I know exactly where he is. But I think, sometimes in life, it takes getting pushed, getting tested to see what you're really made of, for your faith to really grow."

The singer admitted that, as a kid, he'd reflected on the possibility of one of his family members dying -- and, at the time, he didn't think he'd be strong enough to withstand the grief. "As bad as it sounds, I used to pray, like, 'God, please, let me be the first one in my family, because I don't know if I can handle it,'" Beathard recalls.

"And then this happened. And I wasn't necessarily wrong. I can't. I couldn't. I'm not strong enough," he went on to say. "But I underestimated the power of Jesus Christ and him getting me through."

Beathard's journey through the grieving process, while he simultaneously deepened his faith and stayed connected to his brother, inspired the new song, called "I Ain't Without You." A searing ballad that doubles down on Beathard's always-sharp lyricism and straight-ahead honesty, the song made for a gripping live performance on the Opry stage.

Twenty-two-year-old Clay Beathard died in a bar stabbing on Dec. 21., alongside the also fatally wounded 21-year-old Paul Trapeni III; a third victim was treated for injuries and released. Shortly after the incident, police issued arrest warrants for Michael Mosley and filed homicide charges against him, and he was subsequently apprehended on Christmas Day of 2019 at a vacant house in Cheatham County.

The stabbing allegedly took place after Mosley made unwelcome advances toward a female acquaintance of Clay Beathard and his friends, who intervened. The altercation turned physical on the street outside the bar. Mosley subsequently claimed that he attacked the three men in self-defense, but in January, a Tennessee judge upheld the charges, sending the case to a grand jury.

In mid-January, Beathard revisited a previously-released song called "Brother" that he'd written about his family dynamic and his love for his siblings. He also dropped a new song called "You Would Think" on Feb. 21, just a day before taking the Opry stage.

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