Last May was a gut-wrenching time for tens of thousands of people across Middle Tennessee. Now, one year after the flood, five-time Grammy Award-winning musician Victor Wooten recounts his own flood disaster on a secluded piece of property in Hickman County.
"We bring in a nature staff to help you become more natural. So when you get back on your instrument, there's a difference," Wooten said.
A special camp along the Duck River in Only, Tenn., has a different sound. For years, Wooten and guest instructors have been helping other musicians grow.
At Wooten's bass camp, legendary players such as Chuck Rainey, Steve Bailey and other greats wow and inspire. Wooten, a naturalist and animal tracker, built the camp on a 150-acre site. There's a private road, and a nearby bridge is the only way in.
But that same bridge was nearly covered by water after the Duck River surged from its banks, threatening lives and property.
"Four of the people ended up losing their cars here. Their cars were underwater," Wooten said. "So the water from the river, which is way far away, was coming in, as well as coming down hard from the mountain. So this place ended up getting filled up."
Because he was in class, Wooten didn't realize how much danger they were in until it was too late.
"I told them what we were up against: Our road is blocked; we can't get out. But we're calling for rescue," he said.
A mudslide and downed trees and power lines blocked their escape. They met a rescue boat hundreds of yards away.
Finally, all 13 people reached the boat and headed to safety.
But Wooten's property is a different story. A giant trench opened in the heart of camp.
In all, three buildings at the camp were destroyed. But months of hard work and volunteer help have things back on track.
Wooten said he's thankful his bass camp, now in its 12th year, is open for business. He said if nature changes key, listen closely and be ready to improvise.
"Everyone made it out safely. Everyone made it to my house, and we finished the camp the last day, literally at my house with about 27 extra people," said Wooten.
Wooten has another nature-music camp scheduled for June, and he said he hopes the weather will cooperate.
His wife, Holly, said that the private road to the camp was impassable again Monday because of the recent rain.