updated 05/17/2010 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/17/2010 AT 8:55 AM ET
Music conquers all in Nashville – and it came to the rescue of flood victims Sunday during a star-studded telethon that raised more than $1.7 million for relief in the region.
Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow and Martina McBride were among the artists who played to a sold-out Ryman Auditorium as part of the “Music City Keep on Playin’ – A Benefit for Flood Relief” telethon, broadcast on the Great American Country network.
Many of the musicians also answered phones at a call center at the Nashville Convention Center across the street, according to the Tennessean.
Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, co-hosted the show, donated $100,000 themselves and also answered phones. Paisley said more than one caller hung up on him, not believing it was really him.
Urban and his wife, Nicole Kidman, also worked the phone lines. “This town has been good to us,” Urban, who performed “Help” by the Beatles, told the audience. “We had our little girl Sunday Rose here, and we are going over there [to the call center] to do our part.”
McBride told reporters that she and her three girls were planning to do volunteer work in the coming days. “We escaped any kind of damage, but there are kids at our daughters’ school who lost everything,” she said. “This happened in our city, and I want them to be connected to it. We are very proud to be Nashville. We love Nashville.”
Kenny Chesney said he lost a big portion of his 40-acre plot of land. “But a lot of people in this city lost their lives and their livelihood,” he said. “Keep Middle Tennessee in your prayers.”
Proceeds from the telethon went to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Donations are still being collected at gactv.com/help. Also, texting the word “GAC” to 501501 gives $10 directly to the CFMT.