The Bluebird Café is one of the world’s preeminent listening rooms and the venue has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s performance space where the “heroes behind the hits” perform their own songs; songs that have been recorded by chart-topping artists in all genres of music. Located in a small strip mall outside of downtown Nashville, the 100 seat venue is unassuming in appearance but some of the most significant songwriters and artists have performed on this stage. Our reputation as a listening room is based on the acoustic music that is our signature style. Our patrons repeatedly tell us that they are captivated by hearing songs performed by the creators themselves.
At The Bluebird, performers include up-and-coming songwriters along with those whose music is regularly on the charts, country music as well as pop, rock and Contemporary Christian hits. Kathy Mattea was the first star to be identified with The Bluebird and is still a friend and a regular guest performer today. Garth Brooks played on both our Open Mic and Sunday Songwriter’s Shows before he was discovered – at The Bluebird – and signed to Capitol Records.
On any given night, artists such as LeAnn Rimes, John Prine, Jojo Herman, (Widespread Panic) and Phil Vassar mingle with writers such as American Idol Song Contest winner Regie Hamm, (The Time of My Life/David Cook),) Billy Kirsch (Holes in the Floor of Heaven/Steve Wariner), Hilary Lindsey (Jesus Take the Wheel/Carrie Underwood) and Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear (Before He Cheats/Carrie Underwood). A typical nightly performance consists of three or four songwriters seated in the center of the room, taking turns playing their songs and accompanying each other instrumentally and with harmony vocals. It is an experience that few forget, and one that reflects why Nashville is known as Music City.
In 2008, original owner and founder Amy Kurland sold the legendary venue to the Nashville Songwriters Association International, (NSAI) a 40+ year old, not-for-profit organization devoted to the service of songwriters and the craft of songwriting. More of a donation than a corporate sale, Kurland saw NSAI’s mission to “educate, elevate and celebrate songwriters” as a way to continue the Bluebird’s relationship to songwriters and to the community. The Bluebird has received much press attention throughout its 26 years; from live interviews with Barbara Walters and Katie Couric to our recent story in Southwest Spirit magazine. (http://www.spiritmag.com/2008_06/features/ft3.php)
In any given week, we have film crews, national photographers and celebrity visits http://blogs.nashvillescene.com/nashvillecream/but it is always the music that people remember and the songs that keep Bluebird devotees “sssshhhushed.”