Saturday, May 3, 2008


Thom Shepherd and Layne Wrye at the Bluebird Cafe.

Way back in 1982, The Bluebird Cafe was born as the brainchild and lifedream of Amy Kurland. The place had been home to a pizza parlor, pharmacy and sewing machine store after the game room closed down. Amy's original plan was for her venue to be a gourmet restaurant with occasional live acoustic music during dinner. She built a little stage that later hosted some of the greatest songwriters and singers of our time. The Bluebird is a listening room which means ya'll need to shut up and listen to the tunes if you have any respect for music whatsoever. The stage usually sits empty because the main atraction of Bluebird is singers and writers in the round, doing what comes naturally. Kathy Mattea got her start there. So did Garth.

New writers go through an audition process on Sunday nights and there is a special guest songwriter every Sunday without fail. The waitstaff at The Bluebird consists mostly of aspiring writers and singers who savor every minute of their experience and have dreams of riding in the back of daddy's pickup to the fishing hole or going on a mission to claim true love with a song in hand.

"If you're willing to give up everything and come wait tables, we got tables that need waiting. You have to be willing to do it for free for the rest of your life and care about it." Amy Kurland

The audition process is rigorous and occasionally there's a find. Sunday seems to be the day-of-the-week to show up and play, especially on the first Sunday of the month. On "picks" night, anything goes. Kurland grades on a harsh curve and recognizes talent when she sees it with a warm invitation to visit again.

The Bluebird Cafe
4104 Hillsboro Road
Nashville, TN 615-383-1461