Last week's fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas was part of a very difficult news week, but country stars like Hunter Hayes are sensitive to the challenges of playing shows in the affected areas immediately afterward. Hayes is opening the Blown Away Tour with Carrie Underwood, which has three stops scheduled this week and last within three hours of the small town.

The 'I Want Crazy' singer compared taking the stage after the explosion to playing Atlantic City, N.J. days after Superstorm Sandy wiped out the East Coast last fall. "Like I remember at that show," Hayes told Taste of Country, "I kinda came out at the beginning and I said, 'We want you guys to know how happy we are that we're all here together right now. We know you guys have been through a lot and we're praying for you and with you.'"

"It resonates with everyone. You see something like that and it's like your heart is so heavy with it."

The Blown Away Tour plays San Antonio tomorrow (April 25) and Cedar Park, Texas on Saturday. Hayes says being a part of the emotional relief effort helps him put his career in perspective.

"We keep it all in mind and we're grateful to do what we do and we're grateful to get to come in to these towns and hang out with these people and play music for them."

Fifteen people were killed and hundreds injured by the blast. The explosion left a 93-foot-wide crater at the site of the fertilizer plant. President Obama has declared the town a federal disaster area.

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