Aaron Crisler/Retna
Eileen Finan
May 06, 2010 03:00 PM

The disastrous flood that hit Tennessee did not leave Nashville’s music community untouched.

“All our gear, our instruments, backdrops, risers – it’s all gone to water,” says Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild. “A lot of things that can’t be replaced, like [bandmate Phillip Sweet’s] 1933 Gibson was down there. It’s so sad.”

The band was one of many acts that stored equipment and personal instruments at Nashville’s Soundcheck storage facility and rehearsal space, which was submerged in the flooding. Just as touring season was about to begin, Brad Paisley lost gear, and both Keith Urban and Vince Gill have vintage guitar collections in the buildings.

“Who would have ever thought that this flood would have come?” says LBT’s Kimberly Schlapman. “If we all knew it was getting so bad, we would have tried to get down there. No one thought the water would rise this fast.”

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While quick to add that their losses don’t compare to the loss of life, Fairchild says it’s a blow to country music’s heritage.

“When I hear about Keith Urban losing guitars or Vince Gill, things they’ve collected their whole lives, it’s heartbreaking,” Fairchild says. “It will be a while before we know the scope of it – how devastating it will be for country music history, the heirlooms. Vince Gill guitars, if they are lost, those would have been in the country music hall of fame.”

The band, which is due to hit the road Thursday, has been scrambling to gather touring gear.

“We’re desperately trying to replace things. We’re borrowing guitars like crazy. Every artist in town is,” Fairchild says. “I can’t even imagine a tour like Brad Paisley’s what they’re going through.”

PHOTO: Kenny Chesney Knee-Deep in Nashville Flood
But, Schlapman says, the community is already pulling together. “The beautiful thing about Nashville is that it’s a family and everybody will reach out to help each other,” she says. “[Singer-songwriter] Steve Wariner offered anything that he has that we needed now. That’s the Nashville spirit.”

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