Country Artists Cope With Nashville Flood

As floodwaters recede in Nashville, country music artists are trying to cope with the damage to their homes, gear and even rehearsal studios.

Torrential rains during the weekend caused the Cumberland River to overflow its banks, flooding downtown Nashville and causing damage estimated to exceed $1 billion.

Photo: AP Photo
The swollen Cumberland River flows by downtown Nashville, Tenn., at sunrise.

The flooding also affected many of the country music stars that call Nashville home.

Brad Paisley was scheduled to begin rehearsals for his upcoming tour, ironically called the “H2O Tour.” Now most of Paisley’s gear is under water and the artist is trying to find replacements as well as a place to practice.

“I sent a tweet the other day that basically told people that when they come to the show just know that what you’re seeing has been fully tested under water,” Paisley joked during a phone interview with Associated Press. “You’re talking about total cred. This is the H2O Tour. This isn’t posers acting like we know about it. We’ve done it buddy.”

Paisley is only one of an estimated 1,000 artists and music business people who stored gear at Soundcheck Nashville, a storage rental facility located near the Cumberland River. Soundcheck owner Ben Jumper told reporters that the building is completely flooded and expects losses will reach tens of millions of dollars.

Other musicians affected by the flood include Keith Urban who lost his gear, and Vince Gill, who is reported to have lost most of his guitar collection including vintage pieces with historic value.

While phoning into CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” program Wednesday night, Kenny Chesney told Cooper he was out of town when the flooding occurred, but saw plenty of destruction during his return flight home.

“This has really had an effect on this town and this state,” Chesney said. “It’s really been a really tough thing to deal with, including me.”

Photo: AP Photo
A sign for Riverfront Park is visible as floodwaters from the Cumberland River recede on Tuesday.

Chesney’s publicist said the artist’s home suffered so much flood damage that it’s likely to be condemned. Chesney’s gym was ruined and the country star also lost his collection of sports memorabilia, including professional sports items and photos of himself with pro athlete friends.

In response to Chesney’s description of the flood damage, Cooper said CNN had been getting plenty of e-mails from viewers in Tennessee asking why there hasn’t been more news coverage of the flooding in Nashville.

“I gotta say I think they’re right,” Cooper said while talking with Chesney. “We have not focused on this to the degree I think we should have. We’ve been basically distracted by the Gulf oil spill and the terrorist situation in New York but that’s no excuse.

“We’re going down to Nashville tomorrow, and this program will be broadcasting from there tomorrow.”