A little bit of Nashville is coming to Liverpool in August when the Bluecoat arts centre pays tribute to legendary song-writing venue the Bluebird Cafe. Along with the Ryman Auditorium (the original home of the Grand Ole Opry radio show), the Bluebird is one of the most famous landmarks in Nashville's country music community. Founded by Amy Kurland in 1982, the intimate restaurant on Hillsboro Pike hosts two song-writing showcases each night where four established and aspiring songsmiths sit in the middle of the venue and take turns to play their songs accompanied by just their acoustic guitars.

The Bluebird has featured in nearly every episode of the TV series Nashville. It has a strict "no talking" rule while the songwriters are singing and a reputation as a place where the country stars of tomorrow are discovered. Both Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift landed record deals after performing there.


As part of the Liverpool International Music Festival, the layout and ambience of the Bluebird will be recreated in the theatre space of the Bluecoat on August 29th. The one-day event will include a late evening show hosted by Radio 2 country music presenter Bob Harris and feature acclaimed songwriters Beth Nielson Chapman and Jim Lauderdale singing their hits and talking about their careers.

At a separate show earlier in the evening, Nashville songwriters Kim Richey and Don Henry will perform alongside aspiring British songwriters Karen Turley and Kirsty McGee, who won a competition to travel to Nashville, work with established writers and perform at the Bluebird. Ticket holders will also be able to join the winners and team in an after party in the Bluecoat restaurant.

Singing Waitress

The Bluebird at the Bluecoat is the brainchild of Emma Foxall who lived in Nashville for five years, sang at the Bluebird and also worked there as a waitress. "I thought it would be awesome to bring the Bluebird experience to Liverpool," Foxall said in a press release. "Liverpool is my home-town and has produced many iconic songwriters and songs. I would like this initiative to become an annual event and plan to forge more links between Nashville and Liverpool."

Erika Wollam, who runs the Bluebird, said, "The relationship between the two cities, Liverpool and Nashville, and their musical history is unmistakeable. Great songs have come from both these cities - songs that have changed the world. For The Bluebird Cafe to connect in this way with Liverpool's musical heritage is a significant joining of hands and one we hope will continue beyond this initial partnership."