Monday, May 3, 2010

'Lost in the flood..'

In the early 80s I lived in Tennessee for a year, in the foothills of the beautiful Smoky Mountains, and while I unfortunately only managed to visit Nashville a couple of times, it was always a special experience rolling in there. What's been happening over the last couple of days has been just heartbreaking to watch.

The tragic situation has already seen several deaths and according to the AP tonight, the Cumberland River crested at nearly 12 feet above flood stage and at its highest level since 1937.

Local musical institution the Grand Ole Opry has moved its shows to other venues in the city. As Peter Cooper writes at the Tune in Music City blog, for the musical community the city's losses are still untold. Meanwhile, local singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters will have a 'tip jar' at her upcoming gigs in the UK for British friends who want to help.

There has been some dramatic footage and images - look on Twitter under #nashvilleflood - and it's impossible not to be moved by the extent of how nature has ravaged the city.

Check out this this video montage by Michael Deppisch (via Mashable), or this Flickr series of stills via Barry Walsh.

To donate to the relief efforts, visit the Middle Tennessee chapter of the Red Cross, or to volunteer go to Hands On Nashville.


Talking of Americans who go the extra mile to help their neighbors, today is the great Pete Seeger's 91st birthday. I was lucky enough to be at Madison Square Garden last year for his 90th birthday tribute concert, celebrating a remarkable life filled with music and a pursuit of justice.

One of the standout performances at that show was, unsurprisingly, from Bruce Springsteen, who had a few months previously joined Seeger to sing 'This Land is Your Land' in Washington during President Obama's inaugural weekend.

Now, Columbia Records has announced that Bruce's open air show with the E Street Band at Hyde Park in London last summer will be released on DVD next month. Here's a taster...

Also, on this day in 1972, Springsteen recorded a series of demos for Columbia after famously auditioning for John Hammond the previous day.

There was another interesting Bruce-related story this week by ProPublica looking at the number of members of congress who attended fundraising events with DC lobbyists at Springsteen shows in the nation's capital last year.


Today was also James Brown's birthday. The Godfather of Soul would have been 77.

This is a pretty remarkable piece of footage I'd never seen before:


Finally, after what happened in Times Square at the weekend, a sincere note of thanks to the NYPD, emergency services and everyone who keeps us safe. Thanks for doing what you do. My heart also goes out to those affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As if Louisiana hadn't suffered enough...

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