Well, I had another one of those quintessential Nashville evenings Saturday night, so of course I had to rush right over here (two days later) and tell you guys all about it.
So I’ve written before about the famous Bluebird Cafe, the original home of that whole ‘songwriters in the round’ thing, remember? Well, a few times a year they take that concept out of the club and put it in a different setting– Vanderbilt University’s Dyer Observatory, high atop a beautiful wooded hill on the edge of Nashville. They call it “Bluebird on the Mountain,” and my brother Matt and his wife Carol invited Madi and I (Charlotte very politely opted out saying, “Um, I think I’m a couple years short of that being really fun for me. But thanks for asking.”) to join them for the last one of the season last Saturday night.
(**edited to add** Marshall just sent me this picture:)
Three of my favorite singer/songwriters were performing– from left to right: Marshall Chapman, Will Kimbrough and Matraca Berg. Since Madi has always been too young to go to the Bluebird Cafe, this was the first time she was able to experience an ‘in the round’ and I was so excited to share it with her. Matt and Carol provided the tickets and the drinks and I packed us all a picnic supper. We got there early enough to stake our claim directly to the right side of the stage, where we had an unobstructed view and plenty of room to spread our quilt. It was an absolutely perfect night, crisp but not cold, with a clear star-filled sky. People had all kinds of interesting setups, from tablecloth-draped card tables with candles to paper plates and sideline chairs. We had a lovely supper: stuffed olives with feta, french bread with Irish butter, gourmet cheese with pear and apple slices, chicken salad on yeast rolls, salt and vinegar potato chips, and lemon squares and crescent cookies for dessert! I KNOW!! It was fabulous.
After we ate, the performers came out and the music started. They took turns singing some of their best, and they threw in harmony parts and guitar solos on each other’s songs, too. It was just magical, and it was so much fun to watch Madi taking it all in. Just a wonderful night…
I thought I’d give you a little sample of each singer/songwriter so you can see why we love living here in Nashville.
The first one is Marshall Chapman, who is one of my two favorite six-foot tall women on the planet (Bonnie Keen is the other one.) Marshall was born into a well-heeled family of cotton mill owners in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She was brought up to be a true Southern lady, but Marshall had other ideas– one reviewer described her as “a living example of the triumph of rock and roll over good breeding.” She is a successful songwriter and performer, has written two books, had her songs featured in a off-Broadway show called “Good Ol’ Girls,” and just wrapped her first movie, appearing as Gwyneth Paltrow’s road manager in the upcoming release, “Country Strong.”
Here, just read this, it’ll fill you in. I’ll wait.
Colorful, right?! Marshall lived next door to my brother Matt in the 70’s and I met her when I was just 16 years old– she scared me to death. I soon got over it and Marshall’s been a part of my life ever since; our friendship has walked us though a lot of things over the years and I am just crazy about her. I wanted to start this thing off with a clip of Marshall playing and singing, but for the life of me I couldn’t find anything on youtube that did her justice. I did however, find a promo she did for her brand new book, “They Came To Nashville,” and it definitely gives you a feel for Mizriz Mah-shal. She’s one of a dang kind.
(It does contain one rather salty word early on, so you might want to emotionally prepare yourself if that kind of thing makes you nervous. Just one, though.)
So, ‘Bloomr Nation, meet Marshall Chapman:
OK, here’s a sample of the very talented Will Kimbrough. He is an unbelievably good guitarist, and he added so much to the whole evening. He was also the only guy up on the stage Saturday night, and this video will show you why he felt right at home!
And finally, the beautiful Matraca Berg. Check out her bio, you’ll recognize a whole lot of her songs, and her accomplishments are absolutely staggering– she’s also married to one of the guys in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which is kinda cool. I’ve known Matraca for years as well, she has performed at some of the Magdalene House fundraisers and is one of my all-time favorite ‘in the round’ writers.
You know I had to put in at least one moody, tear-jerking, singer-songwritery song– and this is a great one:
And thus we conclude another chapter from the “Babybloomr’s Nashville” series.