Did y’all tune in to ABC’s new series, ‘Nashville,’ last night? We did and we have to say… we enjoyed it! What was more interesting than the dramatic story line to us were all of the beautiful aerial shots of Nashville seen in the show’s beginning and the scenes featuring some of Nashville’s historic landmark locations.
On this week’s episode we saw the Grand Ole Opry, the Capitol Grille Oak Bar, the State Capitol, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame (which we recently explored in our ADoor Nashville blog series!), and the Bluebird Cafe. There was a lot of talk about Nashville’s historic Music Row neighborhood. Head here to learn more about Music Row.
We loved the scenes at the Bluebird Cafe, so we thought we’d take a few minutes today to explore the cozy, historic music venue that is renown in the industry for being the place for the “heroes behind the hits” perform their own songs, most often songs that have been recorded by chart-topping artists in all genres of music.
The Bluebird Cafe is a 120 seat music venue, located just outside of downtown off Hillsboro Pike. Amy Kurland opened the Bluebird 1982 as a place for intimate, acoustic music performances. Kurland’s intentions of opening the Cafe was to have it be a gourmet restaurant in which patrons would have the opportunity to occasionally listen to live music while enjoying their food and drink. A stage was added as somewhat of an afterthought… Kurland certainly had no idea in the early years what types of performers would play music on that stage!
But, as time passed, and more people began to discover The Bluebird Cafe, more and more songwriters and musicians began to pass through its doors. The occasional live music became a regular occurrence.
In the spring of 1983, Kathy Mattea, who had been playing at the Bluebird regularly for a few months, landed a record deal. That acted as the catalyst to send the Bluebird into popularity. After that, it became the place to play, and the pattern continued several times for Bluebird performers to land record deals.
Many of you may be familiar with the Bluebird’s weekly Writer’s Nights. Those began on July 1, 1984. The first Writer’s Night featured Don Schlitz as a guest, an artist who, by that time, had already won a Grammy for writing a smash hit performed by Kenny Rogers. The Writer’s Night was such a success that it was an event added to the schedule weekly… and continues to this day.
The Bluebird’s popularity and prominence in the music industry continued throughout the 80s and 90s. There was Bluebird Tours, films and live shows produced about the Bluebird and it was also the winner of an Academy of Country Music award in 2002, for Night Club of the Year.
If you live in Nashville and have yet to visit the Bluebird, do so soon! It is so full of history and such an interesting and unique place to have right in our city. If you are planning a visit to Nashville, try and include a night at the Bluebird in your itinerary to get a taste of why Nashville is dubbed ‘Music City.’ To read more about the Bluebird Cafe and see the current schedule of performances, head to its website here.
Check back next week to read about another location in which ‘Nashville’ has filmed.