On Saturday, a fire destroyed the home studio of Joe McMahan, guitarist and co-founder of Luella and the Sun and a respected producer who's helmed records by Webb Wilder, Patrick Sweany, Altered Statesman, Kevin Gordon, Mr. Hazelwood and Jeff Finlin, among many others. No one was at home when the fire broke out.
Nashville Cream spoke to McMahan by phone yesterday. He said the control room of the studio is completely destroyed, but the large majority of the house itself is OK, outside of some pretty extensive smoke damage. He added that his significant guitar and amp collection is mostly intact, despite smoke damage and lots of soot. Officials from the fire department suspect an overloaded power strip may be to blame. Most of all, McMahan is thankful nobody was hurt. "We are fine, and it's a beautiful day," he said, reflecting on how much worse things could have been.
Upon hearing news of the fire, Lacey Mathes — the sister of McMahan's girlfriend Melissa Mathes, aka Luella Wood of Luella and the Sun — started a YouCaring fundraising page to help defray costs of rebuilding. McMahan expressed his gratitude for donations the page has received, but he asked the Cream to emphasize that he is not in urgent need of money, and that he's waiting to find out how much of the rebuilding expenses his insurance policy will cover.
After the jump, a statement from the band's management along with more photos of the damage.
On Saturday afternoon, Joe McMahan left his home studio to grab a quick lunch with Luella. They were gone for just under an hour. When returning home there were fire trucks on the street blocking access to the house so Joe parked, walked, and in moments knew it was his house that caught fire. Remnants of charred objects from the studio and home were now on the lawn. There was a hole in the roof and a hole in the floorboards looking down to the basement. The damage was enormous.
Fortunately a little more than half the house was saved due to the quick action of a neighbor and a fire truck that happened to be nearby, but the studio is a 95% total loss and the remainder of the house has massive smoke damage affecting many of Joe's and Luella's possessions. It was also the place where the band spent many hours working on their music and honing their craft. To the positive, most of Joe's guitars were spared as they were in a room farthest from the blaze.
Joe has insurance but how much will be covered is not known. Regardless, no amount of money can replace a vibe and location where so much great music had been made and where Luella and the Sun rehearsed, exchanged creative ideas and ideals, and ultimately where they recorded their debut 10" vinyl release.
It will be a long while before reconstruction can begin, and plans to record the album in July are now on hold. The cause of the fire is presumed to be electrical.
Luella and the Sun want to thank everyone for their calls and texts and ask that all concerns and comments be directed to their Facebook page.
Donations to help the band raise funds to record their album can be made here.