Tragedy in Nashville, But Damn Fine Writing

As most longtime readers of know, what little time in my life that isn’t absorbed in the pages of books is devoted to guitars. So I’m happy to say that I’ve placed a few articles in Premier Guitar. In the current issue, I’ve got a bit about joining a band when you have to replace a legend. It was a fun piece to write and I got to interview some very cool musicians.

But the undeniable star of this issue is Craig Havighurt’s story on the Nashville flooding and the undescribable damage done to that city’s guitars. In “50 Feet High and Rising,” Havighurst recounts the depressing scene at Soundcheck studios, a facility that housed vintage and historical instruments as well as current models.

“Somebody said it’s the equivalent of the Louvre flooding…” says one interview subject in the piece. “In terms of vintage, playable instruments, it’s probably the biggest wipeout in the history of modern music.”

A Stratocaster owned by Jimi Hendrix was ruined. A Gibson Les Paul Deluxe that Pete Townsend played on the Who’s Quadrophenia tour is now “riddled with cracks.” The upright bass that Floyd Chance played on Hank Williams’ last recording session collapsed. Dave Roe lost the Fender Precision bass that he used on Johnny Cash sessions. Vince Gill reportedly had 60 guitars affected and almost all of Brad Paisley’s instruments were touched in some way. Peter Frampton, John Fogerty and plenty other musicians from all genres experienced varying degrees of damage.

Ultimately, Havinghurst’s sensitive writing will put this tragedy into perspective, even if you’re not a guitar person and regardless of your musical tastes. So the article is well-worth reading. Check it out here.

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