The Bluebird Cafe

Much to our friend James’ dismay, neither Christine nor I had heard of the quintessentially-Nashville Bluebird Cafe before we began planning our trip. I know, we’re lame.

Had we simply gone with him when James implored us to see “The Thing Called Love” — River Phoenix’s last completed film, set in and around the Bluebird — back in 1993, we would have known all about it.

Mom entering The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville

In any case, once we read about the club’s rich history as a launching pad for up-and-coming singer-songwriters like Faith Hill, Kathy Mattea, Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks (who signed with Capitol Records the day after performing at a showcase here in 1987) we knew we couldn’t miss a visit to the Bluebird.

Located way outside of town in a shockingly suburban stretch of mini-marts and grocery stores — the last place you’d expect to find a famous, world-class music venue — the Bluebird is tucked into a dingy strip mall next door to the Green Hills dry cleaners, pictured below. Strange, I know…but looks can be deceiving.

Signs outside The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville

Inside, the club is pretty nondescript, not much more than a long bar and a bunch of scattered tables and chairs set around a really small stage. But once the music starts up, the vibe is so soulful and intimate that right away you understand why the Bluebird’s motto is: “Shhh!”. Because, whoa, you could not talk in that place without everyone hearing you…it’s that small. But once the jams start flowing, who wants to talk anyway?

The night we were there, there was a blues band (whose name I will remember in time and post here, but for now, totally escapes me) performing and they were totally on fire! Really fantastic, dirty delta blues done right. You could feel that music in your bones, baby!

We stayed till they finished up (around midnight) then drifted back towards town with our ears ringing and our hearts pounding from the experience. Or maybe it was those fried pickles. Either way, a truly magical night…

Sign on the road outside The Bluebird Cafe

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Bluebird Cafe

  1. James

    I think you need to write a script about Nashville, but this time, base it around the Le Bon Ton hair salon! 🙂

  2. Tom F. Romero

    I agree with “James” Le Bon Ton is a catchy name. Image some young southern damsel toiling away at the family owned “Le Bon Ton” when lo and behold a Russian spy drops in for directions……….

    Later,
    Tom

  3. yeti9000

    Actually, that sounds kind of cool…hmm…

  4. Linda Romero

    It was indeed a great night and the band’s name was the Mike Henderson Band see http://www.deadreckoners.com/artists/mike_henderson.html if you’d like to see who all he’s played with, worked with, wrote for, etc….. What made the night extra special was all his friends that stopped by and jammed with him! Some played piano so hot you couldn’t even see their hands they moved that fast.

  5. yeti9000

    Thanks! I knew his first name was Mike, but man, I could NOT remember his last name! You’re right about those piano dudes, they were AMAZING!!

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