Wow, was last night ever amazing. I was lucky enough to score a seat at both of the evening’s shows at the Bluebird Cafe. I figured if I was heading all the way over there, I may as well make full use of it! I really don’t even know where to start with this one. It was beautiful and magical and just very, very cool.
I guess I can start where I left off in my earlier post. Basically, I put that post up then ran off to my room to get ready to leave. Here’s my perfect “Show at the Bluebird” outfit!
I caught the bus at the same place as I did in the morning, and yet again played the tourist card. I was touched when a few stops later, the driver asked where I was going so he could make sure I got off at the right stop. Again with everyone here just being so darn friendly!
It was a bit of a drive, and a bit of a walk, but I made it before the show started. I’ve visited this iconic venue before, but it wasn’t for a show. As part of our ABC’s Nashville tour last year, we actually got to go inside and take a few pictures but there were no musical acts. For more information on the Bluebird’s amazing history and more about that tour, check out Kris’ post on it here. That was a neat experience in itself, but I think I far preferred the actual shows.
Firstly, I want to say that one thing that surprised me most about the Bluebird was how darn cheap it is! It is definitely difficult to get tickets because they are so in demand, but there was no cover charge for the first show I went to, and it was only $15 for the second! This was because it was a fundraising benefit concert. Mind you, each show did have a $7 minimum food/drink charge, but I didn’t mind that at all. Who doesn’t want to have some sort of refreshment while enjoying some quality music?
Both of the shows last night were Songwriters in the Round shows. The performers were set up in a circle in the middle of the room, facing each other, each with guitars and microphones. The rest of the room was oriented around them – the closest guests are less than an arm’s reach away from the artists. Each performer took turns playing a song, and the others played along or harmonized where they could/when they felt like it.
For the first show, I was seated in the second row of tables back with a mix of people – there were 3 from Ohio, a pair from Nashville, and myself. For any of you who aren’t familiar with the Bluebird, this place is just tiny – I believe it seats around 100 and boy is it packed – you are just shoulder to shoulder in there.
The first round was put together by Troy Johnson. From what I can tell, this is typically how it works – one artist is asked to put together a round, and he/she can invite any artists they wish. In this case, Troy invited Daisy Mallory, Bransen Ireland, and Clayton Anderson to play. They all did take turns playing, but I’m going to discuss each of the artists individually to make things easier to write about. I tried to take notes throughout the evening, but there were points that I just got lost in the music or couldn’t identify the song, or didn’t catch who has cut it, or just completely guessed at the song title. Regardless, the information I have is here.
Troy has written some amazing songs, and also worked with amazing artists as shown by the group he assembled for this round. He was not my personal favourite part of the evening, but every song he sang rang with truth, talent, and experience. I also really enjoyed watching him join in on each of the other artists’ songs. He’d harmonize or play along with almost everything. Troy’s set list was as follows:
Some Days You Gotta Dance – cut by the Dixie Chicks
Back on a Dirt Road – cut by Montgomery Gentry
Getaway Car – cut by Thompson Square
If I Had A Nickel
What I Would Do
Put A Little Love in it
This girl is beautiful, young, and amazingly talented; I adore her voice. Her songs had a personality about them that I really enjoyed. I would see her play again anytime. I bought her album from her after the show for $5 – a steal of a deal if you ask me! Daisy’s set list was as follows:
Crazy About Me (?)
This Side of Town
I Gave You the World
Music Inside Me
Used to This
I have to say, I just looked both of her EPs up on iTunes and it doesn’t look like “Problems” is on either of them. Here’s hoping that I can get my hands on that song at some point in the future – it is a good one!
I was actually seated at a table with Bransen’s wife, Jessica. She was lovely and charming – they make a really cute young couple. Bransen had a few songs that I found myself singing along with by the final chorus. His music is a lot of fun, though he did have his serious moments as well. I didn’t buy his album, but I’ll now be watching for something new to come out because I think I would listen to him often. Bransen’s set list:
Bigger Out Here (?)
Sweet Little Texas Thing (?)
Guest in Your Own House
Clayton was my favourite of the night. Between his fun anecdotes, big personality, and his music, he is impossible not to enjoy. From the stories told throughout the evening, it really does sound like he could be on his way up in the music world, and that doesn’t surprise me at all. You may have even heard his biggest song, “Your Love is Like Country Music” already. Clayton’s set list:
Right Where I Belong
Doin’ What You’re Doin’
Wanna Wake Up Where You Are (?)
Only to Borrow (?)
Your Love’s Like Country Music
I did not think twice about purchasing Clayton’s album after the show. He greeted me with a hug, and happily signed the album for me. When I asked if we could take a selfie for when he’s famous, he cheerfully obliged.
After this, everyone had to clear out of the Bluebird so that they could get the venue ready for the next show – me included, even though I was staying! I bundled up and headed out into the cold, and decided to go for a walk rather than just stand around. I wandered the area for about a half hour before I returned and got into the reserved line to enter again.
The staff members at the Bluebird pretty much all remembered me when I came in, which was nice. I know that I was just one face among many in a sea of shows, so I appreciated that. This time I was seated up on the stage, and I think I preferred this view even though I wasn’t quite as close to the artists (really, nowhere in that venue is very far away). It was pretty neat that I was seated right below the lighted bluebird sign!
This round was put together by Jeff Cohen, I believe. The acts included himself, Dylan Altman, JT Harding, and Chris Barron. I was definitely not prepared to recognize as many songs as I did during this show! It was absolutely spectacular to hear about the inspirations and situations that lead to some of these major hit songs. Again, I’ll discuss each person individually, just for ease of writing.
Jeff’s story is a pretty neat one. He apparently started out as a business executive in the music world, but he soon left his job to pursue his dream of becoming a songwriter. And he became a successful one at that! I recognized almost all of the songs he performed. At one point, he also brought another artist, Jamie Floyd, up to perform a song that they had written together. Here is his set list:
Crazy For This Girl – Cut by Evan and Jaron
In Her Eyes – Cut by Josh Groban (but most definitely not performed at this show in the style of Josh Groban!)
Postcard from Paris – Cut by The Band Perry
More (performed by Jamie Floyd)
Take Me Away – Cut by Big & Rich
Love Don’t Work Like That
This guy is a country music genius. Just look at the songs below! From his stories, it sounds like he has not been without his trials, but he was able to pull together a handful of hits to perform, and each was better than the last. Dylan’s set list:
Take A Little Ride – Cut by Jason Aldean
Watch the Wind Blow By – Cut by Tim McGraw
Another Song Nobody Will Hear – Cut by Will Hoge
Take It On Back – Cut by Chase Bryant
Whiskey and Water
Barefoot Blue Jean Night – Cut by Jake Owen
So apparently I’m actually a big fan of this guy and I didn’t even know it. I was singing along to every one of the songs he played, and boy was he fun to watch. He was not only funny, but rather rowdy for the Bluebird (I believe at one point while singing, he got up on his chair to rock out). I also thoroughly enjoyed this direct quote when introducing “Somewhere With You”: “You can’t hope for too much from relationships.. You can only stalk them and hope for the best!”. I believe this is something my friend Jocelyn and I discussed at length one day during first or second year of university. He also kept bringing this drummer up to perform with him which was really neat and I greatly appreciated. His set list included:
Somewhere With You – Cut by Kenny Chesney
Alone With You – Cut by Jake Owen
Nobody’s Sad on a Saturday Night – Cut by Uncle Kracker
Somewhere in my Car – Cut by Keith Urban
Smile – Cut by Uncle Kracker
Chris is a part of the band The Spin Doctors, which I had not heard of before, but which many people in the audience were extremely excited about. When he started to perform some classic Spin Doctors songs, though, I knew those immediately! Chris was hilarious and had a bit of a tendency to get totally sidetracked with whatever story he was telling, but I really enjoyed all of it. Out of everyone I saw, I had the most trouble figuring out what his song titles were.
Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong – Cut by the Spin Doctors
Beautiful World (?)
February Rain (?)
I Will Love You Til the Cows Come Home (?)
Part of Me – Cut by the Spin Doctors
Two Princes – Cut by the Spin Doctors
These four writers clearly knew each other well. I found it extremely fascinating the way that the show seemed to tell a story, yet organically so, through songs and anecdotes and jokes told by each of the performers, whether about themselves or one of the others. Things always seemed to come together so well, you’d almost think it was scripted – and maybe it was, I don’t know. Who knows how much they practiced, but honestly, I think it was just a spur-of-the-moment, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of deal.
I can’t say which of the shows I enjoyed more as they were actually totally different. The first show I saw included a couple hit songs, but also some up-and-coming singer-songwriters who may still have yet to hit it big. The second show was full of superstar songwriters and tracks that everyone in the room knew. Both shows were incredibly enjoyable in their own way.
One final thing that I want to write about the second show: Sam Palladio was there! I think. I saw his shoulder only as he was sitting over by the bar around the corner. I considered taking a picture just so I could show you how little of him I could actually see. At one point, one of the writers did call attention to him though. I was very much hoping that he would still be around at the end of the show. I would have loved a picture, but definitely didn’t want to miss a moment of the music. It would have been so perfectly Nashville to have a photo with him at the actual Bluebird Cafe.
Let’s recap my list of celebrities that I know I missed from a previous post.
- Steven Tyler at the airport
- Lauren Alaina at the Listening Room Cafe
- Not really a near miss, but I did see/sit next to that one guy at Tootsie’s that I’m sure is famous, but I don’t know who he is
- Anyone who might have been filming ABC’s Nashville at Union and 4th yesterday
- Sam Palladio at the Bluebird (we were in the same room! And a small room!)
Whew – that is one long post, but I didn’t want to leave out a single Bluebird detail because I don’t ever want to forget any of it. This evening was a dream come true for me, and I highly recommend seeing a show if you ever have the chance.