Worth Reading: An Oral History of the Bluebird Cafe

The oral history format has become very popular in recent years, and I recently stumbled upon one from last year about the Bluebird Cafe:


Amy Kurland grew up in Nashville in a musical family—her father was the session musician and arranger Sheldon Kurland. After she dropped out of culinary school, she decided to open a restaurant, picking Green Hills because the neighborhood was affordable at the time.

Amy Kurland, founder: “I was dating a guitar player, and he and his friends said, If you’re going to open a restaurant, why don’t you put a stage in there and we’ll play music? So I started out being this two-headed creature: During the day, we were this Green Hills ladies-lunch place, with flowered tablecloths and tuna stuffed into tomato halves. And then in the mid-afternoon, we would take the tablecloths off and haul the sound system out for the live music.”

Great work from the folks at Gardens & Guns, of all places! Click the link for more memories from singers and songwriters, including Kathy Mattea and Pam Tillis.



  1. from a 1/24/18 “frugal traveler” article in the on-line NY Times, “In Affordable Nashville, Grain Bowls, Hot Chicken and Blistering Guitars”:

    “But there’s no substitution for live music. I made my way to the Bluebird Cafe, a popular, intimate venue that features local and established acts. Tickets are, well, extremely difficult to come by (it’s been showcased on the television show “Nashville”). They’re released weekly by the venue and space is tight, which means you have to be both lightning quick and lucky to nab a seat. If you’re in, you’re golden — tickets typically run in the $20 to $30 range. Cafe workers supposedly monitor Craigslist and ticket sites to crack down on scalping. If you’re not fortunate enough to snag online tickets (the likely case), you can wait in a queue that approaches the “Hamilton”-esque for one of 10 or so same-day tickets. I showed up at 7:30 one evening and the man at the door stifled a laugh. “Yeah, you’re not gonna make it in,” he said.”

    Tonight’s 9 p.m. show features Kathy Mattea.

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