We drive 5 hours to a small strip mall on Nashville's Hillsboro Road, a few miles southwest of downtown. If you aren't looking for The Bluebird Cafe, you won't notice it. If you are trying to find it, like we were on our first visit, you will drive by it and won't be sure you are there until you pull into the small parking area in front. No more than 95 people pack the place to hear country music from its point of origin.
We are not big fans of country music. After Music Row processes many of the songs we've heard performed at the Bluebird, they become indistinguishable from that lightweight tune that seems to be always playing on the country hits station. The acoustic versions delivered by the songwriters are often masterpieces. The songwriter is every bit the talent as those who record their music. In the instances that the songwriter also recorded the song, the rendering at the Bluebird is usually better. Besides being entertained in a venue that demands silence during an act, you are very close to the performers. On our last trip, Patti was performing roadie duties for the performers, passing them lead sheets, water bottles, etc. One of the artists, Shelley Fairchild asked into the microphone, "Patti, hand me that pick." We are pictured (right side of photo) at the performance here. It's like having the event in your living room! It seems that half the crowd consists of the performers' family, friends, and business associates. It's as if we have been invited to a private party.
The opening show this trip was a display of virtuoso guitar playing from Tim Thompson, Tom Boyer, Kent Gray and Rick Udler. The styles ranged from samba to that of Chet Atkins and George Benson. Marshall Chapman and Tim Krekel took the stage for the main show. You couldn't ask for a better evening of entertainment.
It was our fifth vist to The Bluebird Cafe. We intend to go many more times.