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Rare Instruments Damaged In Flood

The torrential rains that triggered flooding in Nashville created hardship and heart ache for thousands. For most, cleanup involved deciding what to try to save and what to simply replace.  For Joe Chambers, the second choice was not an option.  Chambers operates the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.  In a cruel twist of fate, Chambers had moved his collection of rare musical instruments into temporary quarters in February because a new convention center is being built on the site his museum then occupied.  The site he found, a rehearsal and storage facility on the Cumberland River, was in one of the hardest hit areas in the historic flooding that followed a 14" deluge.  Many rare instruments were submerged days before Chambers was able to get access to them, among them a guitar Pete Townshend used on the Quardophenia tour,  a 1966 Fender owned by Jimi Hendrix, guitars belonging to John Fogerty, the bass Gary Tallent of the E Street Band played on Born To Run, one Charlie McCoy used during the Bob Dylan Nashville Skyline sessions, and drums Kenny Buttery played on Neil Young's Harvest album.
 Much is beyond restoration and it may be a while before Chambers has the resolve and resources to save instruments that can be restored, but there has already been an outpouring of support from and to musicians in Music City.  Asked by the Tennessean what the fate of the museum is, Chambers said that the prospect of having to relocate had already raised doubts, saying, "I kind of said, 'God, give me a sign. What should I do?' And he gave me a big one." The site he had to vacate to make room for the convention center construction was largely spared damage.

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