We went to eat at a nearby pizzeria that Dave had recommended to us and ate some good portions. Afterward, we headed straight for our first visit to the city: The Bluebird Cafe concert bar.. This bar is famous in Nashville because now famous musicians have passed through here when they tried to make themselves known. We had discovered it months before in a Sonic Highways television docuseries, created by the Foo Fighters singer, in which he visits several cities in the US to tell his musical past. At The Bluebird Cafe, for example, years ago, a young 14-year-old singer-songwriter whom no one knew at the time, called Taylor Swift, played. This is how Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group discovered it, with which he would end up recording his first album in 2005. On the other hand, if you’ve seen the Nashville TV series , I think this famous bar will sound familiar to you.
We had not managed to book a ticket for that day, so we got in line an hour before to try our luck. It was bitterly cold, but we held on stoically until opening time. From the outside, this bar would go completely unnoticed, because it is in an area away from the center. When we parked, the managers of the premises warned us that it was unlikely that we would ever enter, but we were stubborn and got in line anyway.
The Bluebird Café opened in 1982 and has a very comprehensive acoustic concert and performance schedule. Several days a week there are concerts by specific artists and other days there are sessions of what is called “open microphone” ( Open Mic ), in which debut singer-songwriters sing to be heard. That’s what we were going to see that day… if we could get in!
After a long wait, we saw how all the people who were waiting in front of us gradually entered the bar. When the session had already started 5 minutes, we arrived right in front of the entrance door. It seemed that there was no more free space. We were already cursing our luck, when the person in charge of the queue told us that we could enter without making noise, although two of us had to sit on stools by the wall and another had to share a table with 3 strangers. We do not hesitate for a second and accept the offer.
Sitting in the tight space of the audience, we enjoyed for about two hours the songs of various singer-songwriters in acoustic format. There were all kinds of singers, from very young and accompanied by their parents, to regular local customers. Talents who had come from the next town, from California or even from far away Canada. Obviously, we liked some songs more than others, but it was great and time flew by. At the exit, I remember congratulating one of the singers who had performed that afternoon and she gave me her card.
We didn’t know it at the time, but two weeks later there was a surprise performance at The Bluebird Cafe. Taylor Swift herself appeared there to sing a song as she had at 14 years old. Oh if we had been there that day! (Isabel dies)
When we left the Bluebird it was dark and we went downtown to visit Broadway . Like Memphis and New Orleans , Nashville could not miss its great music street, where most places offer live music, every day. After looking around, we went into the Honky Tonk Central a bit and ordered a good plate of nachos with cheese and everything, accompanied by some beers.
A group played on stage that sang hit songs and carried a lot of energy. Pure hard rock to all chestnut, mixed with some songs by Shania Twain or Sheryl Crow. The atmosphere became progressively heated and towards the end people bounced on top of the opposite bar, grabbing the singer’s neck, giving it their all. Sitting at our table, enjoying the music, we freaked it out. It was only Monday night . I imagine that on Fridays and Saturdays it must already be the evening. Downtown Nashville doesn’t have much to brag about, there’s the basketball stadium, the many traditional concert halls, the Cumberland River… but Broadway Street and its endless musical offerings give it a sensational life.
Shortly after we returned to Dave’s house very happy. We slept like logs and the next morning we got ready to go hiking. We didn’t see him downstairs before we left, so we assumed he was still sleeping.