"Our house burned to the ground, we lost our clothes, everything," he told PEOPLE. "The Red Cross gave us clothes. Friends gave us a place to live."
So when he was asked to pitch in for a charity auction benefiting those affected by Tennessee's historic flood last May, Urban was eager to contribute.
"Because I had experienced that loss, my want to help was immediate," he said.
In a series of seven portraits featured in the current PEOPLE Country issue, Urban, along with several of Nashville's biggest stars – including Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert and more – posed at their favorite Nashville landmarks. (Urban's special spot? The city's famed Gruhn's Guitars shop.) Those photos – along with swag like a concert and a chance to meet Urban, a tour of the Grand Ole Opry or a signed guitar from Swift – are on the auction block until Friday, Dec. 17, with all proceeds going toward flood relief.
"People are still suffering from that flood," Paisley, who was photographed with pal Little Jimmy Dickens at the renovated Grand Ole Opry, told PEOPLE. "Lots of people are still going through hell. It's important for us to pitch in where we can."
Reporting by KAY WEST
To see all the portraits, and for free music downloads, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE Country, on stands now.