In the early morning of March 3rd, a massive storm dropped multiple tornados around Nashville, Tennessee. The destructive winds killed 24 people, leveled property across four counties (including the popular venue Basement East), and left tens of thousands without power. In the wake of the tragedy, the music company Gibson is donating guitars to Music City residents whose own instruments was lost or damaged in the tempest.
“Our goal is to get a guitar back into the hands of anyone who has had their guitar damaged or destroyed in the recent Tennessee storm,” said Dendy Jarrett, Executive Director of the company’s non-profit arm Gibson Gives. “As a Nashville, Tennessee based company, we are also engaging with our artists and other partners to provide support across many areas.”
Musicians hoping to have their storm-damaged guitar replaced may email their story to Gibson Gives Guitar Recovery Plan at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are, of course, some terms and conditions. To avoid enriching scammers, the company will be asking for proof, probably in the form of insurance claims and/or pictures. Also, the replacement guitars are not guaranteed to be new, and indeed many will be prototypes, demo models, or shopworn.
Even so, this small act of charity represents a change of direction for Gibson, which a few years ago was in the habit of destroying its excess guitars. According to an ex-employee, “Under [former CEO Henry Juszkiewicz], nobody was allowed to [donate extra equipment] for the fear of losing their job.” Juszkiewicz stepped down in 2018 after the company filed for bankruptcy. These days Gibson seems to be in a slightly healthier financial place, and it’s nice to see them giving back to the artistic community that relies on their products.
Those wishing to support Gibson’s mission can donate through their website, though if you want to help tornado victims, your money may be better used somewhere like the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund. But everyone helps in their own way; Kacey Musgraves has been selling concert outfits to support tornado relief. And tonight, Brandi Carlile, Dan Auerbach, Jason Isbell, Margo Price, and Sheryl Crow are teaming up for a benefit concert at Marathon Music Works in Nashville.
In January, Gibson revealed its 2020 custom guitar collection, featuring collaborations with Tool’s Adam Jones, Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi.