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Calhoun experiencing Nashville 'double whammy'
Braxton Calhoun
Sarah and Braxton Calhoun sing together at Springfield’s Mars Theatre during an April 2019 performance. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
I see a lot of people doing what they are supposed to be doing and that gives me a lot of hope.
Braxton Calhoun

 RINCON — A pair of disasters has virtually silenced the entertaining sounds that usually emanate from Music City.

In the wee hours of March 4, a tornado squelched the country tunes in Nashville, Tenn., replacing them with funeral dirges for 24 people. Now it is the coronavirus pandemic that is muffling most semblances of fun because of social distancing requirements.

Singer/songwriter Braxton Calhoun, who moved to Nashville shortly after graduating from Effingham County High School in 2002, was watching a live TV news conference featuring Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Friday when he was asked about the situation during a phone interview.

“Everybody is kind of worn out,” Calhoun said. “Before (Lee), our mayor (John Cooper) was reminding everybody that we still have a lot of  tornado damage going on. NES (Nashville Electric Service) is still trying to get power back to certain neighborhoods that were hit hard, and, on top of that, we have all this going on where people are having to stay shut in and everything is shut down with panic across the country.

“We have been hit with a double whammy, for sure.”

Fortunately, Calhoun has been heartened by much of what he has seen and heard in the wake of Nashville’s troubles. His wife, Sarah, is a Vanderbilt Hospital nurse.

As of Sunday morning, Tennessee had nearly 400 confirmed coronavirus cases.

“I just think everybody is kind of nervous right now,” he said. “The good thing about Sarah doing what she is doing is that she is kind of getting information firsthand and seeing it firsthand. Yes, it is serious and we all have to take precautions right now but it’s not the end of the world if we all pull together.

“I see a majority of the people doing what they are supposed to be doing and that gives me a lot of hope.”

Calhoun and his wife planned to do a Facebook Live concert Thursday night. They canceled it, however, because she was exhausted from her nursing work.

“I wanted to do it because she sings better than I do,” Calhoun said.

The coronavirus outbreak has cost Calhoun multiple jobs because Nashville’s restaurants and bars have been forced to close. His last gig was March 14.

“It’s been crazy,” he said. “We went from expecting a really awesome spring and summer with a lot of tourists to this. The last two years were really big with all the new bars in town.

“Nobody expected to get the call that, ‘Hey! We’re done until further notice!’”

Calhoun said that the relative quiet that has supplanted the rowdy noise in Nashville’s Broadway area is eerie.

“It used to never stop,” he said. “I could hear the drums banging at Kid Rock’s at 10 o’clock in the morning.”

Like most Nashville musicians, Calhoun has endured tough spots before and he expects this one to be no different. He just isn’t certain how long it will take this time.

“We’re hoping to get back on our feet again in a week and a half or so but who knows?,” he said.