May 7th, 2010
01:07 PM ET
During the last few days, I've received a number of calls and emails from colleagues in Nashville, frustrated with how the catastrophic flooding in their city has not seemed to receive the amount of attention it deserves on many national news outlets – including CNN.
My friend Heather left an impassioned message from her cell, as she pulled moldy siding off a pal's home in Bellevue. Another friend, Jules, opened up her vast rolodex for contacts we needed. And Schatzi Hageman, publicist for Trace Adkins, apologized for delays in responding to emails – never using the fact that her office was uninhabitable as an excuse.
We caught up with Trace himself in Southern California, where he was shooting a music video for his new single, "This Ain't No Love Song." The Louisiana native was defiant about his adopted city's tenacity, and didn't think the national media was obligated to shine a bigger spotlight. "I don't feel slighted in any way," he said. "I'm not worried about it, because I think that Nashville – as a community and as a city – we'll cowboy up, and we'll take care of this situation, and we'll fix what needs to be fixed, and we'll carry on. We don't need everybody in the country to come run to our aid."
Indeed, Tennessee is living up to its moniker as "The Volunteer State." As Vince Gill headlined a telethon on the local NBC affiliate, raising more than $1.7 million, a flurry of press releases hit my BlackBerry:
* This year's CMA Music Fest will donate 50% of its proceeds to flood victims (also through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee). The other 50% is earmarked for music education programs in metro Nashville public schools.
* The "12th Annual Grammy Block Party" is going on as planned next Tuesday with Darius Rucker, Steel Magnolia, Trombone Shorty and others. 100% of every dollar raised will go to the newly-created MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief Fund (word has it that Keith Urban and and Nicole Kidman were among the first to contribute).
* Ke$ha becomes the first non-country artist to hold a benefit for families and animals affected by the flooding. Her concert will take place June 16 at Limelight. The Nashville native-turned-pop sensation is offering special $ 100 VIP packages, which include a Meet & Greet.
Also, a shout-out to Miss Taylor Swift, who wrote a $500,000 check for flood relief in Nashville.
Thursday night, Tim McGraw told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "This is going to take awhile here... just because you saw it on TV one day and the water had gone down, it's not going to be going away." Faith Hill added, "The worst is yet to come. The disaster remains."
But the city's recovery is off to a promising start.
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