I could have sworn I was in Nashville. In front of me, two songwriters were talking about how they wrote their award-winning tracks. One was in an embroidered checked shirt, and the other in cowboy boots. A man had honest to God tipped his hat to me earlier, and I was tucking into a bowl of chicken wings. It felt a little strange, truth be told, to be nibbling on a wing while making eye contact with the girl singing… but not strange enough to make me stop. In fact, if anyone else tried to make a pass at my wings, they received a Look. A sharp Look.
All of which is beside the point. I wasn’t in Nashville: I was in Dublin. The Liquor Rooms, to be precise, where the Nashville tourist board were hosting an event last Wednesday. As you know, I left my heart in Nashville (along with a portion of my liver and whatever organ processes an excess of pork fat). So I was there like a flash.
We were there to see Jessi Alexander and Jon Randall, who performed a few of their hit songs, and told us a little bit of the story behind them. Jessi wrote The Climb, which you’ll know as a Miley Cyrus (and X-Factor?) song. It was also in the Hannah Montana movie, which I didn’t know because I didn’t watch the Hannah Montana movie, not even when I was looking after someone’s kids that one time and I don’t even think her dad is good looking so why would I have seen it twice? God.
She also wrote (but didn’t perform) I Drive Your Truck, the track that won Song of the Year at the CMA’s the year I was in attendance.
Jon wrote Whiskey Lullaby, a song which I’d never heard of but was sung by Allison Kraus and Brad Paisley.
What I love about The Bluebird Café (apart from the moody low lighting and the waitresses who shush talkers) is the way you hear a song in a completely different light. Instead of the bells and whistles of a high octane performance, or an elaborate track meant for radio, you hear what the songwriter had in mind when they put pen to paper (or iPad to Garage Band, or however they do it now).
You mightn’t know the songs, or even be into country music, but you can see the raw talent of the songwriter, and hear them sung as their creators intended.
Hopefully I’ll be back in the Bluebird one day, but until then it’s nice to have had a little taste to tide me over.