Nashville native and Desperate Housewives' star James Denton and a sometimes tearful Kimberly Williams Paisley, wife of Brad Paisley, welcomed a packed house to the Ryman Auditorium for last night's Music City: Keep On Playin' flood relief benefit. The initial three-hour telecast on GAC -- it was re-aired immediately after it ended -- raised more than $1.5 million...
- The event started out with $44,000 in the bank from ticket sales alone and within the first half hour, the tally surpassed $245,000. Video of the heartbreaking devastation was interspersed between artist performances on GAC, which aired the event live.
- Spotted manning the telephones were a music executives, Nashville mayor Karl Dean, Tennessee Titans football players as well as Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley's father Doug and wife Kimberly, Joey and Rory, Steel Magnolia, Josh Thompson, James Otto, Lee Roy Parnell, Billy Dean, Lorrie Morgan and Whitney Duncan.
- Brad Paisley kicked things off. He nixed playing his current single, "Water," in favor of the optimistic "Welcome to the Future." He ended his performance by donating $100,000. Backstage, Brad said although his tour set was damaged by the floods, his crew was able to repair it in time for the start of his H2O Tour, which kicks off in Virginia Beach on Friday (May 21st).
- Dierks Bentley, whose own home took on water during the flood, performed the Jeff Black song "Gold Heart Locket" with the legendary Sam Bush.
- Martina McBride gave two inspired performances -- first singing her own hit, "Anyhow," and later singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
- Keith Urban gave a chilling acoustic performance of a poignantly arranged version of The Beatles' "Help." Despite suffering damage to his rural Nashville home and losing much of his touring equipment, he joked that his musical instruments were last seen floating down the river to Southern Tennessee. He then lifted the somber mood by performing "Better Life." His wife, Nicole Kidman, manned the phones after Keith's performance.
- GAC host Storme Warren spoke with Julie Roberts ("Break Down Here") who lost her home, its contents, her car and broke her ankle during the evacuation.
- Other performers included Lady Antebellum, Kellie Pickler, Rodney Atkins, Randy Montana, Sheryl Crow, Will Hoge, blues singer and guitarist Keb' Mo', gospel artists Cece Winans and Jaci Velasquez