The Bluebird Cafe

I love Nashville’s Blue Bird Cafe. I can’t think of any where I would rather hear live music than the Blue Bird. The reason I love it is because it is a showcase for songwriters and not merely performers. It certainly has hosted some of the greats of country music, from Garth Brooks to Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. But you don’t have to be a famous name to play at the Blue Bird. You just have to write great songs. So a night at the Blue Bird is like going to a poetry reading at a coffee house. It’s quiet, and the audience takes songwriting as seriously as a poem or a story, which it should be.

I’ve had some great memories from there. There are few singers and songwriters I admire more than Emmylou Harris and Kathy Mathea, both of which I have heard play their songs there in the round. And then there was Christmas with Shawn at the John Berry concert where he stirred me with his version of “O Holy Night” (which to this day remains my favorite version of one of my favorite songs). And all those songwriters who just stopped in for a night, whose name goes unremembered, but they wrote some of the great songs of our time.

People often think of Nashville as a country music town. That’s not really accurate. It is, at its heart, a songwriters town. And if that’s true, the Blue Bird Cafe is its church and its concert hall. I love this Nashville gem, and I’m glad that Katie Couric profiled it tonight on CBS Evening News when she broadcast live from Nashville. Best wishes to the Blue Bird and congratulations on 25 years of encouraging great writing and creating Nashville’s best talent.


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