The flood recovery is well underway in Nashville, and country artists are leading the effort to raise money to help victims of this week's deadly floods. Here's the latest on the relief efforts:
--TAYLOR SWIFT donated 500 thousand dollars to the relief effort in Nashville Thursday night, and she urges everyone else to give what they can. You can donate 10 dollars by texting REDCROSS to 90999.
--DARIUS RUCKER learned about the flood in Nashville while watching the news back home in South Carolina. He'd just played a private concert at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville last week, so the devastation of the flood really hit home with him when he saw that same building completely flooded. Darius tells us, "It really just made me go, 'Wow, this is crazy, man. This is a disaster."
Darius traveled to Nashville to take part in a local telethon staged Thursday night to raise money for relief victims, and he was amazed at how many people personally affected by the flood were still calling in to give money to help other victims. "That's what it's all about," says Darius. "These things happen to show how great this country can be."
--GAC has announced plans for a national telethon, Music City Keep on Playin': A Benefit for Flood Relief, to air from Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on Sunday, May 16th at 8:00 p.m. ET. Brad Paisley, LADY ANTEBELLUM, DIERKS BENTLEY and RODNEY ATKINS have been confirmed to perform on the telethon, with more talent to be added. Ticket information to attend the telethon in person will be announced soon.
--JOHN RICH and GEORGE JONES appeared on FOX News Thursday to appeal for help for flood victims.
--BRAD PAISLEY and ALAN JACKSON have been added to the lineup for this weekend's Grand Ole Opry performances at the Ryman Auditorium, where the show is being staged while the Grand Ole Opry House is underwater.
--MICHELLE BRANCH was in Los Angeles when the floods struck Nashville over the weekend, and she actually learned about the dire situation through Twitter. Michelle tells us, "I turned on my [TV] news thinking I would see something about it, and I didn't. So, I actually first started seeing pictures and stuff from people posting them online."
As she flew home to Nashville on Tuesday, Michelle was shocked to see the flood water from the sky. "It was just brown water everywhere," Michelle says, "and you really got a sense of how serious it was." Michelle is doing her part in the relief effort. She got her friends HOLLY WILLIAMS and BRETT ELDRIDGE together for a small show in Nashville last night to raise money for flood victims.
--AMY GRANT and VINCE GILL have donated 100 thousand dollars to help victims of the flood, which affected residents just a mile from their home on the west side of Nashville. Amy tells us, "Those roads are so familiar to me, and I have a lot of friends that live in that area."
Amy actually raided her own closet to donate one-third of her personal wardrobe to those who have lost everything. She's really proud of the way the Nashville community has come together in this crisis, saying, "I'm so proud that the news is not filled with stories of looting and that our town is so integrated between the communities...So, so proud to be from this town."
Vince Gill actually lost 80 of his 100 guitars in the flooding at Nashville's Soundcheck rehearsal space, which also affected instruments and equipment belonging to RASCAL FLATTS, KEITH URBAN, MICHELLE BRANCH and scores of other artists. Amy tells us there's a silver lining in this story, though. Guitar experts in Nashville and around the country are actually banding together to start restoring the damaged guitars to their original condition. Says Amy, "There were some electric guitars and some acoustic guitars that, if dried properly, that survived Katrina...So, they're saying, 'Don't trash anything.'"
--Power was restored to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum downtown on Thursday afternoon, and it's open for business as of Friday morning.
Go to http://www.wdez.com for many options to donate to the relief effort~