Fans of the new ABC drama “Nashville,” are getting a glimpse of one of the beloved venues among songwriters and singers in Music City. The Bluebird Café only offers seating for 100 people, but its reputation spreads worldwide. With the new weekly TV drama, interest in seeing the real place is exploding.
When singer songwriters join each other in the middle of diners in this intimate setting, the results prove magical. There’s a great purity to hearing a songwriter tell how he/she wrote a song and then listening to the results. It might be a song like George Strait’s signature “The Cowboy Rides Away,” which was written by Casey Kelly, a prolific songwriter and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Art of Songwriting.
“The people who go to The Bluebird go there to hear the music. All performers love that,” says Kelly.
While he loves the atmosphere and has been playing here since it opened in 1982, there’s another reason The Bluebird will always hold a special place in Kelly’s heart. It’s where he met his significant other, singer/songwriter Leslie Ellis in 2004. They’re often on the road, but when they are home in Nashville they make it a point to play at The Bluebird.
“Nashville is a songwriters’ town,” says Kelly. “The Bluebird is a small bar with an intimate atmosphere where the focus is entirely on music. It’s mostly songwriters playing and singing their own songs. If an audience member is distracting from the performance they will be asked to leave. It is the premier place to show off one’s songs.”
Garth Brooks is just one of the singers who got his big break at The Bluebird. Playing there in 1987, he won the attention of a Capitol Records executive who gave him a record deal.
There are two shows daily—the first starting at 6 or 6:30 and the other at 9 or 9:30 p.m. Check the calendar to see who’s playing and then cross your fingers at the opportunity to get a seat.