Songs of life in the Bluebird Cafe
March 27 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Songs of life in the Bluebird Cafe | Friday, March 28, 2003

Friday, March 28, 2003

Songs of life in the Bluebird Cafe

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

A recent meeting in Nashville provided the opportunity to experience country music at its best - up close and personal at the Bluebird Cafe.

The Bluebird is small and unobtrusive, 21 tables nearly hidden in an unassuming shopping center a few miles south of the city. It provides a venue for songwriters, the folks who labor in obscurity, bleeding the songs that other artists make famous.

Seven nights a week, writers take the Bluebird stage (such as it is, six inches high and jammed up against the audience), and sing their own songs.

From a corner seat that was actually behind the artists, I heard Armand Mele, Neil Herman, David Stewart and Sam Lorber, not a familiar name among them.

It was Nashville, but none wore boots or so much as a bandana; three were natives of New York, and the other was from New Jersey.

All were wizards of wordplay: the artistry of expression, the twisting of metaphors, the unexpected shifts in meaning so common to country music.

One sang of anger: "I've got a chip on my shoulder with your name on it."

Another bemoaned a lack of understanding. Because we often fail to learn the whole story, he sang, "Until you know, you never know." A song in the next set echoed, "If you only knew."

One performer skipped love altogether and sang of lust as "an ache of a different kind."

Most of the songs tended toward heartbreak and sorrow, lost love and lost opportunity. "Every day is Monday since you've been gone," sang one. "They say you can't hear the sound of a broken heart, but there's been a symphony of lonely since you've been gone," moaned another.

Some reflected a longing for new love. A man's first date in years left him feeling like "The new heart on the block." Another song explored a bored wife's desire for excitement: "I need a hurricane, I need my shutters blown apart ... I'm looking for a beautiful storm."

And some celebrated finding the love they sought. "We were born to love this way, it must be deep in our DNA," sang one. Another crooned "There's no limitation to my imagination since love got a hold of me."

Recalling the uncertainty of life and love in the aftermath of 9/11/01, one singer poignantly asked "If I knew you'd be gone tomorrow, what would I do different tonight?"

And looking toward hope, even in face of failure, one writer sang "It's never too late to be what you might have been." Or to try, anyway.

Portraits of life and love, pain and sorrow, heartache and hope - food for thought at the Bluebird Cafe.

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3/27/2003 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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