“What do I owe the Bluebird? Just everything I’ve got,” says Garth Brooks of the Bluebird Café, the iconic club that launched his career and those of many other aspiring songwriters and artists. As the fabled Nashville nightspot celebrates its 35th anniversary, a star-studded documentary film is in the works to celebrate its incredible legacy.
A fundraising campaign for Bluebird: The Movie officially launched last week with a Facebook Live event at the club, featuring Lucie Silvas, Eric Paslay, new artist Tenille and songwriter Dave Barnes, along with Charles Esten, who made a surprise appearance after wrapping filming on Nashville. Currently underway, the fundraising campaign runs through November 20th. Numerous perks, from movie posters and T-shirts to the opportunity to have your name engraved on one of the Bluebird’s chairs, are available to donors who help fund the film.
The documentary, directed by Brian Loschiavo and produced by president and GM of the Bluebird Erika Nichols, assembles a remarkable array of artists to help tell the Bluebird’s unique, history-making, story, with slated reflections from Garth Brooks, Jason Isbell, Vince Gill, Kelsea Ballerini, Hunter Hayes, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Brothers Osborne, Kacey Musgraves, Charlie Worsham, Steve Earle, Pam Tillis, Kathy Mattea and many others. Also appearing in the film are Nashville cast members Esten, Lennon and Maisy Stella, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack and Jonathan Jackson, all of whom have appeared on a re-created Bluebird stage as their fictional counterparts on the CMT musical drama series. A special event at the Bluebird is currently being planned to coincide with the CMA Awards next month.
The 90-seat Bluebird Café first opened its door in Nashville’s Green Hills neighborhood on Friday, June 4th, 1982. That night they gave away bottles of champagne (days before the club had its official liquor license) and there was a fire in the equipment room. Onstage, saxophonist Jay Patten, a longtime Crystal Gayle band member, played until 2:00 a.m. The Bluebird would soon prove to be a valuable showcase for aspiring songwriters and artists, including global superstar Taylor Swift. The club now draws visitors from all over the world and continues to launch new talent, as well as showcasing established artists in a uniquely intimate setting where silence is golden while performers command the stage.
Brooks returned to the Bluebird last week for a private show set to air on his SiriusXM channel. Alongside the Country Music Hall of Famer were three songwriters who owe much of their success to both Brooks and the Bluebird Café: Victoria Shaw (“The River”), Tony Arata (“The Dance”) and Kent Blazy (“If Tomorrow Never Comes”).
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