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Nashville Musicians Need Our Help and Support

I have been very disappointed in Firedog Lake’s lack of reaction to to the devastating floods in Nashville. I know the Gulf Oil Spill and other stories are sexier than the Nashville floods, but I get a sense of schadenfreude in the indifference I see here.

Whether we like or agree with the prevailing politics of the region matters not. These people need our help and I’d like to think we are big enough to help with the same energy, enthusiasm and commitment as we did the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

I am a musician and am friends with a number of musicians in Nashville. Some are semi-famous, some are sidemen you’ve probably seen or heard with various artists, but never knew their names. Some are session players whose miraculously wonderful playing you’ve heard on the radio, in the movies, on television in both TV shows and advertising. Some are with us politically, others maybe not so much.

Many of these musicians have been wiped out in the flooding of downtown Nashville. Many kept most of their gear at a place called SoundCheck, which had as much as five feet of water in it over the past week. In news stories, the famous and their losses are well-chronicled. Vince Gill is said to have lost as much as $5 million worth of guitars, almost every guitar he owns, including pre-WWII Martin acoustic guitars and ’50s-era Fenders and Gibsons. Many are simply irreplaceable. Brad Paisley and Keith Urban have lost all their stage gear.

But I’m more concerned with the musician like me, who could no more afford to replace their gear than I could pay for cancer treatment. Believe me, insurance companies will be denying claims for lost gear for the next five years in the aftermath of these floods. Many pickers will be ruined. They have lost the tools of their trade. I can tell you, being a sideman in a big star’s band can make you a living but only a select few ever get even marginally rich at it. Most do not.

I’d like to help them and I’d like to think you do, too. To that end, I’m organizing a benefit blues show in Silicon Valley, hosted by a local band, the Dan Goghs and me. We’re billing it as a "Super Jam and Benefit for Nashville Musicians."

The show goes from 6-10 pm, Saturday May 22 at Netos Market and Grill, 1313 Franklin Street, Santa Clara, CA

Local blues luminaries will be donating their talent to the effort and I encourage all Bay Area Pups to come out and help us help the musicians in Nashville. All proceeds will go to the American Federation of Musicians Local 257’s Nashville Musicians Relief Fund. You can also make a direct donation if you like, they take PayPal.

I’d love to see a showing of Pups at the show. I’ll be playing and my beautiful and talented better half will be working the donation table. All donations are voluntary and I can promise you without hesitation, you will be shaking your asses to some great music.

As an extra added incentive, every pup who shows up, introduces themselves to me and makes a donation of any size, will get a free download of my album "Time For a New Dance Floor." It’s a couple years old now, but Pup leader Suzanne will tell you she likes as well as Pup Newtonuser.

So please, whether you come to the show or just make a direct donation, help those who are hurting bad right now…show them progressives have big hearts and let’s help keep our cultural heritage from being washed away in the flood.

Thanks for reading.

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