Jamhouse Blog

The Place to Play

In 1982 Amy Kurland opened what was intended to be a gourmet restaurant and, as an after-thought, she erected a stage in the restaurant to provide diners with the opportunity to hear live music. After performing on that same stage in 1983, artist Kathy Mattea landed a record deal and subsequently set the stage for future artists to follow in her footsteps. The aforementioned stage resides in the venue that became known as “the place to play”, The Bluebird Café.

The Bluebird Café is one of the premier music venues in Nashville, Tennessee. It is widely renowned for both the discovery of aspiring artists and for the performances of established songwriters and artists. It has become known as the place where “the heroes behind the hits” play – giving the music industry’s ‘invisible men’ (aka. the songwriters) the spotlight.

In 2008, founder Amy Kurland sold the venue to the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) although, Kurland described it as more a donation. NSAI’s goals regarding the celebration of songwriters are in alignment with what The Bluebird Café has done, and continues to do, for songwriters and artists.

The venue has become more and more well-known and, its frequent mention by high-profile artists such as Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Faith Hill and Garth Brooks, has greatly increased its profile. Both Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift coincidentally, were both noticed and signed as a result of their performances at The Bluebird Café. 

The Bluebird Café also features on the primetime ABC drama series Nashville – further increasing its now established profile.

As well as the performers, the venue also attracts a large number of high-profile audience members. Most notably: Helen Hunt, T-Bone Burnett, Ted Danson, Carole King, John BonJovi, Don Everly, Johnny Cash, Al Gore, Cher, Bonnie Raitt and Stephen Schwartz.

The Bluebird Café boasts a rich history for a venue that is comparatively young in years and, the high success rates of those who have performed there, ensures that it will remain a premier venue in the music city. 

Author: G. McDonald for Jamhouse Creative
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