Listening Rooms, Writer’s Nights and “In the Round”
Everyone knows to hit the Grand Ole Opry and Music Row for major concerts and famous entertainers – but there’s actually a fascinating underworld of music clubs in Nashville where you can hear both aspiring and renowned tunemastersperforming in “Writer’s Nights” or “In the Round” venues. In these discreet, intimate environments, it’s a distinct possibility that you’ll be sitting in front of someone who penned a Number One country hit. Here are a few of the best in Nashville.
Head over to the Green Hills district to experience a writer’s night at the “famously secret” Bluebird Café. You’ll get a mix of new songwriters who are slowly making a name for themselves, and veteran hit-makers. A big plus is that you may even see one of your favorite stars amble up to the stage and start plucking on an acoustic guitar.
Both Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks have been slipping into the Bluebird since the 1980s to crank out “in the round” solos. Garth was even discovered there while playing his very first in-the-round gig. Two shows happen every night, but there’s only room for 90 people – so call ahead and see if you can talk them into giving you a confirmed seat.
Tip: Arrive a little early and walk over to Firefly Grille on Bandywood Drive for truffled white cheddar and goat cheese appetizers.
The Commodore on West End Avenue is where you’ll hear some of the best songwriters in Nashville – for free. And that’s not all; if you’re an as-yet-undiscovered songwriter, you can sign up to perform as well. Sign-ups are on the day of the event, and the open-mic portion happens at 10 p.m. every night except Tuesday.
So what happens on that Tuesday? Random Music Group hosts a Musician Night with touring musicians who hit the state and all perform together for the whole evening. You can order “good-ole” American food and drinks inside or on the patio.
Bobby’s and The Row Kitchen
Bobby’s Idle Hour Tavern actually sits on Music Row, offering what is so far the only genuine Writer’s Night right on the strip. It only happens on Thursdays at 7 p.m., and the music is all original. There’s also live music every night at The Row Kitchen & Pub nearby, but Songwriter’s nights are only Thursday through Tuesday. The Row Kitchen is well known for down-home Southern cooking, suchas freshly baked peach cobbler and their signature deviled egg concoctions(including caviar, chow chow, or bacon & pickle).