Nashville musician plays on after bombing with help from Lawrenceville man

Bud Veazey works on a custom guitar in the basement workshop of his Lawrenceville home. He recently gave an electric guitar to a victim of the Nashville bombing who collection of guitars were destroyed. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.
Bud Veazey works on a custom guitar in the basement workshop of his Lawrenceville home. He recently gave an electric guitar to a victim of the Nashville bombing who collection of guitars were destroyed. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

Bud Veazey of Lawrenceville has always had a special place in his heart for Nashville and its musicians.

Veazey spent 12 years of his career in television news in Nashville and still considers some of the people he met there his best friends.

So when Veazey woke early Christmas morning to the news that a bomb had exploded in downtown Nashville – injuring at least three people, and damaging dozens of buildings – he knew he wanted to do something.

“I just thought it was tragic,” he said. “Nashville is such a great city.”

Veazey reached out to Nashville country singer Buck McCoy, who posted videos on Facebook, describing the horrific events of the morning, including the loss of most, if not all, of his seven guitars.

McCoy wouldn’t have to worry about being able to keep making music; Veazey would be rushing him a new guitar for free.

Portrait of Bud Veazey with one of his custom guitars in the basement workshop of his Lawrenceville home. He recently gave an electric guitar to a victim of the Nashville bombing who collection of guitars were destroyed. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.
Portrait of Bud Veazey with one of his custom guitars in the basement workshop of his Lawrenceville home. He recently gave an electric guitar to a victim of the Nashville bombing who collection of guitars were destroyed. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

And not just any guitar: a hand-made Telecaster-style electric guitar, which is popular with artists of all genres, but especially country music singers, because of its simple design and tonal versatility. A Telecaster is said to be able to produce a honk-tonk-worthy twang or a raucous tone befitting a Keith Richards’ solo.

“What’s really great about it is it’s the best guitar I’ve ever played,” McCoy said in a recent phone interview from Nashville. “It’s changed my whole playing, and people are even commenting on it. Other musicians are saying: ‘That’s your guitar; that’s your jewel.”

Buck McCoy. Courtesy of Buck McCoy
Buck McCoy. Courtesy of Buck McCoy

Credit: Courtesy of Buck McCoy

Credit: Courtesy of Buck McCoy

The guitar sells for $1,200 to $1,400 and was handmade by Veazey in the basement workshop of his Lawrenceville home.

Since he retired as assistant news director at Atlanta’s WAGA TV in 2008, Veazey has made about 10 or 12 guitars a year for musicians in 37 states and Australia.

Terri Thornton, a former colleague and friend since 1992, said she was happy but not surprised by Veazey’s generous gift to McCoy.

“It’s totally in keeping with the kind of thing he’d do,” she said.

McCoy said the public has been generous in helping him and other victims of the bombing. He even received a guitar from country singing star Brad Paisley, with the inscription: “Twang on pal. I’m glad you are still here.” Paisley also shared with his fans McCoy’s story and his GoFundMe page.

“He [Paisley] is just a very passionate person when it comes to musicians,” McCoy said.

Anthony Quinn Warner, the man believed to be responsible for the Christmas Day bombing, blew himself up in the explosion, and appears to have acted alone, federal officials said.

The explosion damaged 45 buildings, crippled telecommunications systems across parts of the Southeast for days, and temporarily or permanently displaced 400 residents, including McCoy.

He hadn’t been home long from a late-night performance when he heard gunshots outside. A short time later, he was jolted out of bed by the explosion, which left his apartment in shambles.

“It was like being in a movie,” McCoy said. “Cars were on fire. People were screaming. People were walking around like on 9/11, kind of in shock.”

McCoy’s red-headed tabby Molly couldn’t be found for six days and became a city celebrity of sorts. She’s now home with McCoy and recovering from a hip injury sustained in the explosion.

McCoy is still sorting through the remnants of his former home and working on insurance claims. But he’s also looking to the future.

He plans to use some of his insurance money to purchase a guitar from Veazey. He loved the gift guitar so much.

He also hopes he and Veazey can collaborate in some way in the future.

“A musician without a guitar is not good, and, when Bud said he was sending me one, I thought it would be a nice guitar,” McCoy said. “But what I got was literally a piece of art.”

More details about Bud Veazey

A native of Chattanooga, Bud Veazey makes and repairs guitars at VZ Custom Guitars. He works from the basement workshop in his home in Lawrenceville. He says his love of guitars developed in his teenage years. He started making and repairing guitars as a hobby 25 years ago and made it his retirement avocation when he left WAGA-TV in Atlanta in 2008.

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