Nashville – The Bluebird At Last

Read about our evening at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville

It’s another build-up day here in Nashville (Tuesday).  Tomorrow is full on, with events during the day and evening, the Americana Honors and Awards show at night followed by the start of the Showcase events held at numerous venues around the town.

So a deliberate quite pace to start the day.  My sleeping patterns are still awry, waking at 10am after struggling to get some shut-eye during the night.  We decided to head down to Bonds in The Gulch for lunch and coffee, before marching south down 12th Avenue to the closest supermarket we could find on Google maps.  We located it after 15 minutes and it was a disappointment – not much in stock of a healthy nature, so we got minimum essentials and headed back home.

There are two serious choices for the night – The Basement and Grimey’s record store are having an early opportunity to register for the Conference, followed by a kick-off bash featuring Steelism, Mike Farris and Leftover Salmon.  The alternative is the Bluebird Cafe where Sounds Australia is hosting two sessions featuring many good Australian acts. This may be my best opportunity to catch as many Aussies as I can.  And my first visit to the famed Nashville music venue.  Sandra and Trish decided to cover both event options (and kindly offered to pick up my registration badge at The Basement) and I headed up to The Bluebird for the whole night.  A cab ride up the Hillsboro Pike took around thirty minutes during peak traffic.

 

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Australiana @ Americana is the annual preview event which this year is highlighting fourteen of Australia’s finest at the iconic Bluebird Cafe. The show was presented in two sittings with artists performing in a line during four separate sets.

 

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Artists performing on the night include: Chris Altmann / Christopher Coleman / Dan Waters / Daniel Champagne / Helen Shanahan / Imogen Clark / Jemma Nicole / Kevin Bennett / Kirsty Akers / Melody Pool / Mia Wray / Rob Draper / Sal Kimber / The Mae Trio.  Performing in a line (one song each in sequence) is an interesting concept and one that might challenge a few performers.  Choosing the material for impact and doing one song only might mean it’s hard to get momentum and ride the ebb and flow with an audience through a normal set.  But it’s a refreshing concept for an on-looker.

 

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The performances throughout the four hours were of a tremendous standard, over what must have been almost fifty songs on the night.  Too many to cover all and do them justice here.  I would, though, make some observations.  Sal Kimber continues to delve into what is a treasure trove of source material – stories of her family and of the land, so uniquely Australian.  Her music never fails to deeply move me.  Chris Altmann has been living in Canada for a while now and it was good to see him on stage again (and about to embark on a tour back to Australia after a break).  I’ve always admired his rustic portrayals and his musicianship – read more about him here.  Christopher Coleman continues to impress, with his strong songwriting, individuality and irony.  His debut album is well worth checking out – see more here.  Helen Shanahan hails from Perth Western Australia and her voice and intensity took me aback.  Her self-deprecation and nerves dissipate as she launches into her songs – one to watch.  Kevin Bennett’s story telling introductions are captivating and so is his music.  A song about Neil Young’s former sidekick Danny Whitten a beauty.

Apologies to those artists I left out.

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Christopher Coleman

 

 

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Helen Shanahan

DSC00686 Kevin Bennett

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Daniel Champagne

 

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The Mae Trio

 

A beautiful night, full of Australian music and sentiment, all in a special place that I have failed to get to over three previous visits to Nashville.

There are other Sounds Australia events throughout the week – details are here

Thanks to Dobe Newton and Sounds Australia.

 

The three of us took a cab home, a house debrief about the day’s events, tomorrow’s plans discussed and hopefully a full night’s sleep all round.

 

Read about our evening at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville

 

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Author: Rob Dickens

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