On April 27, an F4 tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Ala., leveling 7,274 homes in less time than it takes for the band My Morning Jacket to play its signature song, "Mahgeetah," in concert. Fifty-five people were killed; thousands lost their livelihoods. This university town mostly known for its football fanaticism became a place of heartbreak — and, now, of rebirth.
Last Friday — three months and three weeks after the storm — My Morning Jacket, Neko Case and Phosphorescent came to Tuscaloosa to play a special show, with all proceeds after costs going to the United Way of West Alabama. The bands transformed a tour date into a benefit after hearing of the town's devastation.
NPR's Ann Powers, who lives in Tuscaloosa during the school year, took the opportunity to connect the musicians with members of the community via a tour of the tornado zone, and brought along photographer Jeffrey B. Hanson to document the journey and the concert.