Chattanooga Now Music community rallies to support injured singer/songwriter with benefit Friday

Chattanooga Now Music community rallies to support injured singer/songwriter with benefit Friday

November 8th, 2012 by Casey Phillips in Chattnow Music

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.


• What: Fundraiser for Jordan Hallquist featuring The Power Players, Amber Fults, Mike McDade and Gabe Newell.

• When: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9.

• Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.

• Admission: $10.

• Phone: 267-4644.

• Venue:

On his way to a friend's house the evening of Oct. 11, local rock singer/songwriter Jordan Hallquist's Honda Civic slammed into a pole off Amnicola Highway. When first responders arrived on the scene, the car was on its side, and the speedometer was stuck at 80.

Although he doesn't remember much about the night, Hallquist said he feels lucky to have escaped with a half-dozen fractured ribs, a broken wrist and fibula, and some internal bruises.

Nevertheless, his five-day stay at Erlanger hospital -- three in the intensive-care unit -- left him with a stack of medical bills and forced him to cancel his shows for the rest of the year.

To cover the debt, Hallquist decided to sell some of his instruments and gear. That was something Mike Andrews, guitarist with local rock/blues/funk outfit The Power Players Show Band, couldn't abide.

"It was like, 'Nah, we can do something,' " said Andrews, who knew Hallquist mostly by reputation as a well-loved personality in the local music community. "I would just hate if that were to happen to me. I figured we needed to go ahead and lift a brother up."

Tonight, The Power Players Show Band is headlining a benefit for Hallquist at Rhythm & Brews. The group will be joined by a slew of other local artists and friends of Hallquist, including Amber Fults, Mike McDade and Gabriel Newell.

"One thing I like about the community here in Chattanooga, musically, is that it's really tight-knit," Andrews said. "It always seems like there's an outpouring of help whenever somebody needs it."

Coming from Detroit, Andrews said one of the reasons he and the rest of the band relocated three years ago was because of that sense of community, something noticeably absent in Motown.

Andrews was the recipient of an outpouring of support himself about a year ago when a pair of guitars and equipment were stolen from the trunk of his car. Thanks to the work of observant fans and the police, the equipment was returned within two months.

"That never would have happened in Motown," Andrews said. "Chattanooga is the [best]. I love everybody here, even the bums."

In his career, Hallquist said, he has played many benefit shows for other artists in need, and he's touched by how many have rallied to his cause.

"It's very humbling to know that there's that amount of support for you and what you do in your hometown," he said.

Chattanooga Times Free Press entertainment reporter Casey Phillips spoke with local rock singer/songwriter Jordan Hallquist about his recent car accident, his injuries and recovery and his thoughts on the outpouring of support from other Chattanooga musicians.

CP: What happened in your accident? When/where was it?

JH: The accident was three weeks ago Thursday. It was off Amnicola Highway around the 2000 block of Wilcox. As far as what happened, no one knows what happened. I don't really have any memory of the accident. I know I was going to a friend's house after a gig to see his new house. I don't remember much.

From the accident report, I either looked away from the road for a second or fell asleep at the wheel and then hit a pole. My speedometer was stuck at 80 mph, so I was going way too fast for the conditions - way too fast period - but we don't know what caused the wreck.

I was picked up there, and the next thing I remember, I was waking up in the ICU. It was really a very strange circumstance. I haven't really heard from the officers, really, except that night when they told my family that it was a very weird, freak accident.

CP: What kind of car were you driving? Is it totaled?

JH: It was a Honda Civic. It's very much done for. The pole was fine, and it didn't break, so whoever is putting those in is doing a good job. [Laughs.] But my car is completely totaled. When the fire trucks and EMTs got there, my car was on its side, and they had to cut out the top of my car off to get me out of the car.

CP: Have you been in an accident before or was this your first?

JH: I was in a minor accident when I was 18. It totaled my car, but I didn't come away with any injuries. I didn't even have a scratch on me. This one was a little bit different.

Looking at the car and the speed I was going, I really shouldn't have made it out as well as I should. I didn't make it out too great. I have a broken wrist, broken fibula, seven fractured ribs, bruised lung and bruised thorax. At the time, my nose was broke, and my face was very, very swollen. They thought that I had broken a lot of bones in my face, but it turns out that I didn't; it was just swollen from the nose breaking and the impact of the airbag. It turned out to be pretty good because when they first saw my face in ICU, they were talking about plastic surgery.

CP: How long were you in the hospital?

JH: I was in the ICU for three nights and a regular room for two, so a total of five days. Even that was an amazing thing because I've never really been on the flip side of receiving a lot of prayer and support because of a bad situation. I've done benefits myself, and I've had people I know who have been in accidents who you care for and send positive vibes to, but the people who have been praying for me and sending me texts and Facebook messages and emails to get well soon really has made my recovery very speedy.

In the ICU, the first thing the doctor said was that I would be bed-ridden for six months. The second day, I had three tubes going down my throat, and they said it might be more like three or four months. By the end of that day, they said I was healing up pretty solid and that I might be able to put pressure on my leg in a month or so. It just consistently, consistently got better.

Where I'm at now is that I'm still moving pretty slow. My arm is in a cast. My leg, however, is still fractured, but I'm not in a boot or a cast, and he gave me the OK to walk around a little bit on it and put pressure on it. I'm able to eat normally. I have about a three- or four-month full recovery period before I'm normal and can get around and go places and see people.

CP: I was going to ask if it affects your ability to play, but as soon as you said 'broken wrist,' you answered that question.

JH: Yeah. [Laughs.] The shows for the rest of the year have been canceled. My cast and everything will be off and I'll have full body movement by mid-December, but it will be about a month of rehabilitation to get back to full dexterity. I've lost a lot of muscle mass in my arms just because I haven't been able to use them correctly. We're looking at mid- to late-January before the shows start up, but I can't play right now.

CP: How does that feel? As a musician, not being able to play must be one of the worst side effects of this experience.

JH: It definitely is; it's very awkward. As a musician, it's almost second nature that when you see a guitar or are around a guitar that you're playing or messing around on it. Not being able to do that with so much free time on my hands is a little bit painful.

However, I'm still able to write and put together songs and lyrics and that sort of thing. Being able to do that is a big plus. I'm starting a blog here soon that is about local musicians and working musicians, in general. Being able to do that sort of thing helps you stretch your mind and stretch your imagination to help you pass the time.

CP: How significant are your medical bills?

JH: I don't know the full extent of them just yet, to be honest. The roundabout figure I've been given has been pretty extensive. I did have insurance, and TennCare is not covering me. They will not be able to cover me.

The extensive medical bills are going to be there. With five nights in the hospital and an ambulance ride and surgery on my neck, it's going to be hefty, but I don't have an exact figure yet. Usually, the ambulance rides are somewhere around $1,000, and it's $4,000 a night to stay in the ICU.

CP: What hospital was it?

JH: I was at Erlanger Hospital. Honestly, I've never stayed in the hospital before, but if that's the way you're treated in the hospital when you stay, I wouldn't mind staying in the hospital. It was an amazing staff. The care and concern you receive there is amazing.

CP: Things must have been bad for you to be considering selling your instruments. I imagine that was a tough decision to make.

JH: It was. However, I was selling a portion of my instruments to help pay some bills, but it wasn't all of them. It never would have been all of them.

It's a tough decision for any musician to sell a portion of their collection at all, especially for a working musician. Everything I own I use to help pay rent and pay bills, and having to sell any of it is a tough decision. Luckily, I didn't have to sell as much as I thought. I sold a couple of things, and some friends of mine bought those things with the idea that if I need them again, they're mine. It worked out amazingly.

CP: How many guitars do you have?

JH: I have about eight guitars. I used to have more, but I've narrowed it down to that. I haven't had to sell any of my guitars, which has been nice. I have that and a keyboard and some other recording gear and quite a bit of microphones and live sound. Not having to tap into my live sound equipment was a big thing, because I'm having to use my live sound whenever I travel, so it was nice to be able to hold onto all of that and hold onto all of my guitars.

I was selling two of my guitars, several of my microphones, some rack cases used for travel and just some odd stuff that was being used but not at the point of necessity. I did have two of my guitars up for sale, but I didn't have to sell those, which was nice.

CP: How does it feel to know that The Power Players have arranged this show to benefit you?

JH: I had a talk with a dear friend of mine who is a venue owner here in town, and he asked me that and told me, because he's been on the flip side of that before, that it's a lot harder to receive this sort of thing than it is to give it.

It's very humbling to know that there's that amount of support for you and what you do in your hometown. It's amazing that it's being done by so many musicians, who have jumped in to help out a fellow musician.

It also sets you back a little bit to realize the importance of community and the importance of friendships and that anything that could cause those friendships to be lost or the community to be split up, in the grand scheme of things, is pretty petty.

This has brought people together, not just for me, but as a community. I'm being the beneficiary of people's giving, but I believe it's brought together a lot of people and has really brought a lot more unity to the community that I didn't even know existed.