Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban rally in aftermath of Tennessee floods


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Country singer Kenny Chesney, who has a spread in Nashville, posted video of the aftermath of the Tennessee floods Thursday on YouTube and sought help for those affected by waters that rose after the devastating rainfall Sunday. Damage estimates top $1 billion, according to the Nashville Tennessean, and 30 people died in three states.

‘This city is really hurting now,’ Chesney told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday (the interview is after the jump). Flying home to check on his Nashville property, Chesney said, he couldn’t believe what he saw from the air.


‘You watch on the news and you see all this stuff happen around the world, but, you know, this has really had an effect on this town and on this state and it’s a really tough thing for people to deal with, including me.’

Taylor Swift donated $500,000 to Nashville flood-recovery efforts, it was announced Thursday night during ‘Working 4 You: Flood Relief With Vince Gill and Friends,’ a local telethon to benefit flood victims. [Updated, 8:28 a.m.: That effort raised more than $1.7 million, the Boot reports, including Gill and wife Amy Grant‘s $100,000. Larry Gatlin and Naomi Judd were among those manning the phones, Keith Urban performed on a borrowed guitar, having likely lost most of his to the floodwaters. Check out the Boot’s report for many more names.]

‘Being at home during the storm, I honestly could not believe what was happening to the city and the people I love so dearly,’ Swift told the Associated Press in an e-mail. ‘Nashville is my home, and ...

... the reason why I get to do what I love. I have always been proud to be a Nashvillian, but especially now, seeing the love that runs through this city when there are people in crisis.’ Keith Urban, who lost equipment in the flooding, said he and wife Nicole Kidman have donated money to the relief effort and urged others to do the same. Michelle Branch also lost property to the rains.

Many of the area’s entertainment and tourist venues have been affected. The Tennessee Titans football stadium flooded dramatically, but upon further inspection, the damage was not as bad as expected. The Opryland Resort could be closed for six months, the Tennessean reports, and extensive flooding at the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday forced the performance of a show at a location other than Opry House or Ryman Auditorium for the first time since 1975.

‘We need the world’s help right now,’ said Chesney, who on Twitter encouraged donations to the Nashville Area Red Cross.


(above left) Taylor Swift performs onstage at Time’s 100 Most Influential People gala on May 4 in New York City. Credit: Jemal Countess / Getty Images for Time Inc.

-- Christie D’Zurilla