TV fans of hit drama “Nashville” see a lot of the famous Bluebird Cafe, but fans in southern Utah will get an even closer look at the legendary singer-songwriter venue based in Nashville, Tenn. when three of its prestigious songwriters will venture to Southern Utah University to participate in two unique events completely free and open to the public.
The Bluebird Cafe is one of the world’s preeminent listening rooms and has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s performance space where the “heroes behind the hits” perform their own songs, songs that have been recorded by chart-topping artists in all genres of music.
And tomorrow the experts of the Bluebird Cafe will sing on SUU’s campus February 4 at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., both in the Gilbert Great Hall located within the Hunter Conference Center, a two part event that has never graced the University’s campus.
Performing on SUU’s stage will be Hugh Prestwood, a songwriter who has worked with the likes of legendary country singers Randy Travis and Trisha Yearwood. Prestwood has been honored with an Emmy Award and National Songwriters Song of the Year, been nominated for a Grammy Award and in 2006 joined the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall Fame alongside Jimmy Buffet. Joining Prestwood will be Lari White who has written hits for Toby Keith, Wynonna Judd and Billy Dean. James House will also be visiting from the Bluebird Cafe, he has co-written Grammy and CMA nominated songs for Martina McBride and Dwight Yoakam.
These artists, who have co-written hits for illustrious singers, will take part in two inclusive events. The first will begin at 11:30 a.m., titled Songwriters in the Round the three artists will bring the audience around them, give commentary on their top-charted songs and perform in the Great Hall.
Later that afternoon an open event titled the Creative Masterclass will have the visiting Bluebird Cafe songwriters inviting three SUU students to perform their own songs. Then Prestwood, White and House will give critiques and commentary on the performance, an opportunity that students like Steven Swift find incredibly valuable.
An art major originally from Key West, Florida, Swift has been playing since the fifth grade and began touring with his band at the age of 15, centered in blues music, Swift will be performing for the visiting songwriters and hoping to receive the critiques and connections that will further his music career.
He said of the upcoming experience, “This will be such an amazing, fun experience. It’s not everyday that I get to sing one of my songs for three people that can give me the commentary and connections I need to continue in the music industry, and they will be right here on our campus. Amazing.”
All are welcome to attend the Creative Masterclass to listen to the commentary and music performed by these three lucky Thunderbirds in the Great Hall.
Both performances are sponsored by the SUU Student Association and the SUU Convocation Lecture Series. The Convocations series regularly brings to campus top scholars, musicians, philosophers, scientists, educators, authors, and activists, with the goal to increase understanding and opportunity for personal, academic and professional growth across the University and the region.