Bluebird Cafe Kicks Off Ambitious Indiegogo Campaign To Fund Movie

In the midst of celebrating its 35th anniversary, Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Cafe is kicking off an ambitious Indiegogo campaign to fund Bluebird: The Movie, an in-depth documentary about the influence the tiny 90-seat venue has had on singers, songwriters and popular music in general. The campaign began Tuesday, October 17, 2017 here and will run through November 20.
Known for originating the songwriter “In The Round” concept, the careers of numerous artists and songwriters have been launched from the small stage. Budding songwriters view the Bluebird as a “field of dreams” of sorts, traveling from all over the world and waiting in line for hours to audition for the chance to perform one minute of one song on a Monday open mic night.
Garth Brooks, Kathy Mattea and Taylor Swift were discovered playing there, and producers, artists and A&R folks heard countless songs performed for the first time that became huge hits for many artists. The club still has the original audition applications filled out by Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban and others.
Brooks was back at the Bluebird Monday night with songwriters who wrote or co-wrote some of the megastar’s biggest hits. Pat Alger, Tony Arata, Kent Blazy and Victoria Shaw shared stories and traded verses and harmonies with Garth on songs like “The River,” “Ain’t Going Down,” “The Thunder Rolls,” “The Dance” and more. Garth made a challenge to the packed room that he and the songwriters would match any donation to the documentary campaign made during the show.
Hit songwriters Casey Beathard (“How ’bout Them Cowgirls,” “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” “Like A Wrecking Ball,”) Liz Hengber (“For My Broken Heart,” “It’s Your Call,”) Mark Irwin (“Here In The Real World,” “Highway Don’t Care,” “Redneck Crazy,”) and Kim Richey (“Every River,” “Just My Luck”) all worked as servers, bartenders and/or hosts at the Bluebird while honing their crafts.
Fans from across the globe pack the well-worn seats two shows a night virtually every night of the week to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars, hear stories behind popular songs and see “the next big thing.” The line of music lovers waiting hours for overflow seats is often equal to or greater in number than those fortunate enough to have reservations.
“The Bluebird Cafe truly is one of those ‘if these walls could talk’ venues, where history is made,” said Bluebird GM Erika Wollam Nichols, who worked as a server and bartender in the club during her college years. “The room is small and it’s crowded – but that proximity creates an intimacy where the writers and the audience are all ‘in it together.’ It’s an emotional experience to be that close to the song, and both the writers and the audience can feel that…in fact, that energy is captured in the very walls of the venue. For songwriters, the fact that the audience listens is inspirational. For the audience, the chance to hear the soul and the story behind the song is life changing. We hope to capture all of that magic on film through this campaign.”
Talent confirmed to appear in the documentary includes Garth Brooks, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Jason Isbell, Kathy Mattea, Brothers Osborne, Hunter Hayes, Maren Morris, Pam Tillis, the cast of “Nashville” and almost every hit songwriter imaginable.

Nichols is producing the movie with director Brian Loschiavo and DP Jeff Molyneaux of Riverside Entertainment. Shanna Strassberg, Kathryn Schwarz, Retta Hatfield and Katie Kauss are co-producers , and Brian Kaplan, VP Marketing at EM.Co, is managing the Indiegogo campaign with Sarah Moore and Emily Levin of Solo Media.

Amy Kurland opened the small but influential Bluebird Cafe as a restaurant in a nondescript strip center just south of downtown Nashville in June of 1982. She added a stage as an afterthought, and live music became a staple of the eatery. She offered the club as an outlet for songwriters and aspiring artists to perform and with the help of regular performers Thom Schuyler and J. Fred Knobloch, pioneered the idea of presenting songwriters “in the round,” where writers set their chairs in the center of the room to play their original material, telling the stories and inspirations for their songs.
The careers of numerous artists and songwriters have been launched from the small stage. Budding songwriters continue to travel from all over the world and wait in line for hours to audition for the chance to perform one song during Monday open mic night, and the club still has the original applications filled out by Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban and others. Garth Brooks, Kathy Mattea and Taylor Swift were discovered playing there, and countless producers, artists and A&R folks heard songs that became huge hits for many artists.
Over the years, The Bluebird Cafe has been the setting for movie and television scenes, from the feature film “The Thing Called Love” to the popular “Live From The Bluebird Cafe” television series that ran on the former Turner South network for five years, and the club’s inclusion in the Foo Fighters’ “Sonic Highways.” The Bluebird name skyrocketed to a new level when the location was used in many scenes of the hit television show “Nashville.” Producers later built an exact replica of The Bluebird on a soundstage in Nashville – right down to the neon bird above the stage, headshots, lights, tables and chairs.
In 2008, original owner and founder Amy Kurland sold the legendary venue to the Nashville Songwriters Association International, (NSAI) a 50-year-old, not-for-profit organization devoted to the service of songwriters and the craft of songwriting. More of a donation than a corporate sale, Kurland saw NSAI’s mission to “educate, elevate and celebrate songwriters” as a way to continue the Bluebird’s relationship to songwriters and to the community. In the ensuing nine years, little about the club has changed, continuing to focus on promoting the craft of songwriting.
The 35th anniversary year will also celebrate 25 years of Alive at the Bluebird, an important fundraiser benefitting Nashville’s Alive Hospice. This beloved concert series features 130+ songwriters playing 35 shows, Tuesdays through Saturdays at The Bluebird Cafe. Participating songwriters have included Jason Isbell, Michael McDonald, John Oates, Amy Grant, Vince Gill and many others.
Outside of its home base, The Bluebird Cafe continues a host of events that bear the iconic name. Bluebird on the Mountain – a sold-out concert series at Vanderbilt’s Dyer Observatory in Nashville, the Bluebird Cafe at London’s Country2Country Festival, Bluebird at Blackberry Farm, Bluebird at the Ballet and the 15th anniversary of the Bluebird Cafe Concert Series at Utah’s Sundance Resort are all scheduled in the coming year.
Additional anniversary events, special guests and more will be announced throughout the coming year.
For additional information about Bluebird: The Movie or to donate, visit:

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