Help our friends in Nashville

If you follow weather news, you’ll have heard about the terrible rains that flooded the Nashville area over the weekend. They received 18 inches of rain in 2 days, and the Cumberland River is elected to reach 52 feet before it begins to recede tonight. Flood stage is 40 feet, and this storm has taken them into the 100 year flood plain.

Homes are underwater, cars have been swept away and the city won’t know for a day or so how intense the damage really is.

With the bomb scare in New York and the oil spill in the Gulf, this story isn’t getting nearly the national coverage it would under normal circumstances. Many readers of Bluegrass Today have friends in the Nashville area, and even if you don’t, there are artists, record labels and all sorts of music industry folks who work in bluegrass that have been affected by this tragedy.

I just spoke with Nashville resident Ashby Frank (Mashville Brigade), and he relayed some mighty sorry tales of many of our music friends. His own home was severely damaged, and he was on the road playing this weekend and hasn’t even seen the house. Keep in mind that floods of this magnitude affect people well beyond the areas where flood insurance is offered, so rebuilding will be a painful and financially difficult proposition.

Jill Crabtree at IBMA told me that her home has water sloshing up against the front porch, and if the Corps of Engineers opens some of the dams to alleviate flooding downriver as expected, they could have another 5 feet of water on their property in short order.

Apparently there are all sorts of animals roaming the streets, both pets whose homes were inundated and livestock who sought higher ground when the waters rose. Donica Christensen of Sugar Hill Records says that she has cows in her back yard, and sightings of buffalo in town have also been reported.

Ryan Baker, also with Sugar Hill shared this info:

“It has become particularly bluegrass-relevant, as the Opry House is completely flooded and will be unusable for several months. Lower Broadway is also flooded. Of course, lots of bluegrass musicians live in the affected areas, and while we’re still getting reports in, we already do know that some people in the bluegrass community have flooded houses and cars. Nobody here has flood insurance.”

WSM reported earlier today that an Opry crew member inspected the building in a canoe and fears it may be a total loss.

Nashville media have ongoing coverage. You can find photos, videos and articles at The Tennessean, News Channel 5, The City Paper and many more.

So how can we all help? Crabtree said that there are no specific plans in place to assist bluegrass folks whose homes, studios or businesses have been affected, though many local venues (like The Station Inn) are donating proceeds from shows to assist in relief efforts.

Perhaps the best bet is to simply make a donation to the Nashville Red Cross, who are always on top of situations like this.

We’ll update with any other ways the bluegrass world can be of assistance as details emerge.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.