Bluebird Café

Coordinates: 36°6′7.3″N 86°49′0.6″W / 36.102028°N 86.816833°W / 36.102028; -86.816833
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The Bluebird Café
Address4104 Hillsboro Pike
LocationNashville, Tennessee
Coordinates36°6′7.3″N 86°49′0.6″W / 36.102028°N 86.816833°W / 36.102028; -86.816833
OwnerNashville Songwriters Association International
TypeMusic venue
Genre(s)Country; singer-songwriter
OpenedJune 3, 1982; 41 years ago (1982-06-03)[1]

The Bluebird Café is a 90-seat cafe and music venue in Green Hills, Nashville, Tennessee. The cafe features acoustic music performances and receives over 70,000 visitors annually.[2]


Amy Kurland, a former waitress, opened the Bluebird Café on June 3, 1982, using an inheritance she received from her grandmother.[1] Initially, it was intended to be just a cafe, but Kurland agreed to allow friends to provide live music. The cafe became a loud late-night location for Nashville musicians. After the cafe hosted a "writer's night" to benefit World Hunger Year, the event became a regular fixture at the cafe, giving local songwriters a chance to showcase their latest work acoustically.[1][3]

In March 1983, future country star Kathy Mattea received a recording contract after playing at the cafe regularly for seven months.[4]

In 1985, songwriters Don Schlitz, Fred Knobloch, Thom Schuyler, and Paul Overstreet formed a new setup in the cafe whereby four songwriters would play in the center of the cafe, facing each other.[3]

After the female songwriters noted that most of the songwriters performing were men, in 1988, they launched "Women In The Round"; regular performers included Pam Tillis, Karen Staley, Ashley Cleveland, and Trisha Walker.[5][6]

Also in 1988, Garth Brooks received a recording contract after a performance at the cafe; he had been turned down by the same label a week earlier.[1]

The cafe is a central feature in the movie The Thing Called Love (1993), the last film of River Phoenix.[7]

In 1999, Turner South aired a program called Live from the Bluebird Café, which built awareness for the cafe.[8][9]

The Bluebird Café Scrapbook, written by Kurland, was published in 2002. It is a history of the club, its writers, events, and employees, as told by the writers, employees, and other witnesses.[10]

In 2002, the cafe received an Academy of Country Music Award for Night Club of the Year.[11]

In 2004, Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records offered Taylor Swift, then 14 years old, a recording contract after seeing her perform at the cafe.[12]

In 2008, Nashville Songwriters Association International acquired the cafe from Kurland, who remained as an advisor.[9]

Bluebird, a documentary about the club, was released in November 2019.[13]

In September 2023, a musical theatre inspired by the café, titled Bluebird, was announced, to be developed by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Don Chaffer.[13]

In popular culture[edit]

The cafe is featured in nearly every episode of the drama Nashville on American Broadcasting Company.[14]

"Bluebird Cafe" is a track from John Waite's album When You Were Mine (1997).

The cafe is also referenced in "Somewhere North of Nashville" (2019) by Bruce Springsteen.

The cafe is referenced in the Foo Fighters song "Congregation", released in October 2014.[15] On May 7, 2014, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl performed an hour-long surprise solo acoustic set at the cafe.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d RUDDER, RANDY (May 30, 2002). "In a Quiet Place". Nashville Scene.
  2. ^ O'SULLIVAN, KELLY (June 16, 2017). "What It's Really Like to Go Behind the Scenes at the Bluebird Café". Country Living.
  3. ^ a b Paulson, Dave (December 6, 2019). "Bluebird Cafe movie: 5 things that might surprise you about the legendary venue". The Tennessean.
  4. ^ Thompson, Gayle (June 1, 2023). "41 Years Ago: The Bluebird Cafe Opens in Nashville". The Boot.
  5. ^ Michelson, Joan (December 22, 2022). "Iconic Club That Launched Taylor Swift Turns 40 And Goes Green – The Bluebird Café, Women-Led". Forbes.
  6. ^ Stowers, Mark H. (November 24, 2017). "Women in the Round benefit Delta Music Institute". The Clarion-Ledger.
  7. ^ "THE THING CALLED LOVE: DIRECTOR'S CUT (1993)". PopMatters. March 9, 2006.
  8. ^ "Turner South buys 27 episodes of `Bluebird' show". American City Business Journals. August 13, 1999.
  9. ^ a b CAPPS, MILT (November 9, 2007). "Bluebird Cafe gets new owner after 25 years".
  10. ^ Kurland, Amy (June 18, 2002). The Bluebird Cafe Scrapbook: Music and Memories from Nashville's Legendary Singer-Songwriter Showcase. HarperCollins.
  11. ^ "The list of winners for the Academy of Country Music awards". Deseret News. Associated Press. May 23, 2002.
  12. ^ Rapkin, Mickey (July 27, 2017). "Oral History of Nashville's Bluebird Cafe: Taylor Swift, Maren Morris, Dierks Bentley & More on the Legendary Venue". Billboard.
  13. ^ a b Evans, Greg (September 7, 2017). "Bluebird Cafe Stage Musical In The Works Inspired By Famed Nashville Venue That Provided Launching Pad For Taylor Swift & Garth Brooks". Deadline Hollywood.
  14. ^ Yahr, Emily (November 15, 2017). "'Nashville' TV show made the Bluebird Cafe famous, but few people know the venue's real story". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ GROW, KORY (October 31, 2014). "Hear Foo Fighters' Rowdy, Nashville-Inspired Song 'Congregation'". Rolling Stone.
  16. ^ Stephenson, Troy (May 8, 2014). "Dave Grohl Performs Surprise Acoustic Set in Nashville". MusicRow.

External links[edit]