Friday, November 16, 2012

Nashville's Real Bluebird Cafe Is Becoming More Popular, Thanks to the Fake Nashville

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM

For anyone following along to Nashville, the addictive new TV drama spearheaded by Connie Britton's likable face/uncertain singing voice, you are no doubt becoming increasingly familiar with The Bluebird Cafe, home to Deacon Claybourne's weekly residency, unrequited love, and so much more.

The Bluebird Cafe, as you may or may not have heard, is not just a set in TVLand though. Situated in a strip mall outside of downtown Nashville, the 100-seat space has long prided itself on being a "listening room," famously providing the songwriters who have penned chart-topping hits for other artists with the opportunity to share their other songs to a live audience, in addition to hosting an open-mic night and early career appearances by the likes of Garth Brooks, John Prine and T. Swift. It's very much a real thing, is the point, and guess what? It's being affected by the attention brought on by the make-believe Nashville.

The folks at New York Mag's Vulture are all over it, talking to the Bluebird's COO Erika Wollam Nichols about the spikes in drink sales, open-mic night signups, the waitlist, and the frequency of which presumably diehard Bluebird patrons have been shushing the coattail customers when they break the cafe's strict no-talking-during-performance rule. Check out their findings, they're pretty interesting. You could also argue that this newfound spurt of recognition is negatively affecting the Bluebird, of course, but as with most independently ran ventures in the context of the 2012 music industry, I like to think the interest is actually a great thing. Way to go, ABC.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.

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