john jorgenson

John Jorgenson's instrumental album, Gifts from the Flood, features guitars that were rescued and restored after being submerged for days in river water, diesel fuel, and raw sewage. Here he cradles one of these instruments, a '61 SG Les Paul. "It was my first good guitar," he recalls. "I bought it with monthly payments when I was 15 or 16 years old."

Photo by Piper Ferguson

On his epic triple-disc set, Divertuoso, the multi-instrumentalist dives deep into bluegrass, jazz manouche, hot-rod country, and instrumental rock.

In 2010, the city of Nashville was subjected to two days of torrential thunderstorms in what was one of the area's worst natural disasters on record. The Cumberland River crested at nearly 52 feet, covering the Grand Ole Opry stage with two feet of water. Those floodwaters also poured into Soundcheck, Music City's storage and rehearsal site for A-list musicians.

More than a few music professionals saw their instruments completely destroyed. John Jorgenson—the freakishly talented guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with everyone from Elton John to Bonnie Raitt to Bob Dylan—had many of his best pieces in storage during the flooding, and all of them were at least partially submerged. A musician's worst nightmare, to say the least.

Read MoreShow less