Music Builds: Restoring the South

This past April, the South experienced one of the worst disasters in its history as tornadoes and flooding devastated several states including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Virginia. Homes, businesses, schools and entire towns were destroyed, resulting in 340 reported deaths. In an effort to help aid the areas of ruin, CMT, with help from the Red Cross, broadcasted the Music Builds Disaster Relief Concert, which aired Thursday, May 12th at 9/8c.

The concert, hosted by HLN news anchor Robin Meade, sports reporter Erin Andrews and comedian Ron White, showcased an hour and a half long concert with performances by Hank Williams Jr., Tim McGraw, Sara Evans, Keith Urban, Gretchen Wilson, Lady Antebellum, Alabama, Trace Adkins, Ronnie Dunn and Alan Jackson. The special, which was also aired online at, showed video of the destruction as well as personal testimonies from those affected by the storms.

Hank Jr. was the first to perform, paying homage to his father, the late Hank Williams Sr., with the gospel-inspired tune “I Saw the Light.” Accompanied by four men on harmonies, this was one of the best performances of the night. Hank Jr. also closed out the night with his appropriately-titled hit, “Dixie on my Mind.”

Next to take the stage was Little Big Town, who laid down perfect harmonies with their take on Coldplay’s “Fix You.” The performance was both elegant and beautiful, a combination country fans have grown to recognize over the years by the four member group.

One of the most memorable performances of the night was by Lady Antebellum, who performed a medley that started with Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” before moving into their hit, “I Run to You,” and ending with another Marley classic, “One Love.” The trio was also seen in one of several taped segments where they told a story of families reuniting with their animals through the use of the social media.

Alabama took the stage to perform their 1980 hit, “My Home’s in Alabama,” as lead-singer Randy Owen made a plea for support in his home-state of Alabama, which was hit the hardest with nearly 250 confirmed deaths. “We need your help. We sing this song for our friends back in Alabama and the surrounding area. We love y’all. We’re praying for you. And everybody around the world that’s listening and watching, help us out if you can.”

Other performances included Tim Mcgraw (“My Old Friend”), Gretchen Wilson (“Angel from Montgomery”), Keith Urban (“Everybody”), Alan Jackson (“Song for the Life”), Sara Evans (“A Little Bit Stronger”), Ronnie Dunn (“Bleed Red”) and Trace Adkins (“Rainy Night in Georgia”).

President Obama also made an appearance in a pre-taped segment from a plant in Indiana where he recognized and praised those volunteering their time and encouraged others to help aid in the relief effort. “We stand with those affected by this disaster – tonight and for as long as it takes.”

Several other members of the country music community, including Kellie Pickler, Ashton Shepherd, David Nail, Clint Black, Montgomery Gentry, Clay Walker and many more, offered their help by taking calls for donations and support during the live and commercial-free telecast.

If you would like to help support those affected by the disasters in the South, text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief, dial 1-800-REDCROSS or visit


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