Feb 17, 2023 - Things to Do

Trisha Yearwood "scared s--tless" at Bluebird Cafe

Trisha Yearwood performing.

Photo: Barry Tamburin

When Trisha Yearwood took the stage at the Bluebird Cafe Wednesday night, she said she was "scared s--tless."

  • The Grammy winner has performed in some of the biggest venues in the world. But playing the tiny listening room shoehorned next to a cat groomer and a barber shop was surprisingly intimidating.

Performances at the Bluebird have shaped the spine of country music for decades — Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift are just two of the megastars discovered there.

  • True music fans recognize the simple Green Hills venue as a landmark that is just as sacred as the Ryman Auditorium or the Opry House.

Zoom in: Wednesday marked Yearwood's first time headlining on the historic stage since she was an up-and-coming artist performing a showcase for her first record label in 1990.

  • There's nowhere to hide in a club that holds fewer than 100, and Yearwood told the crowd she might be a little rusty after taking a multiyear break from performing full sets.

Yes, but: It didn't take long for the Bluebird's magic to take over.

  • Yearwood shifted between hits and deep cuts with easygoing elegance, her voice as strong as ever.
  • When someone in the crowd called out for a song "where you really wail," she responded with a scorching Linda Ronstadt cover that shook the walls and earned a standing ovation.
  • It was, quite simply, sublime.

The intrigue: Her set was the perfect illustration of the Bluebird's power. The performance became a conversation between the artist and the audience. And, because it's Nashville, the audience was stacked with boldfaced names.

  • She traded quips with record executives and her longtime producer Garth Fundis.
  • She stopped in the middle of a song to announce her favorite part was coming up.
  • She even shared inside jokes with some of her most loyal fans, including yours truly.

👋 Full disclosure from Adam: If you didn't already know, I am a Trisha Yearwood megafan. I've tweeted about her so much that she recognized me before the show.

  • At one point, when I let out an involuntary yelp of excitement, she looked down and said, "That's why you're in the front row, Adam."

But I would argue that, at the Bluebird, you become a megafan of everyone who takes the microphone.

  • At the Bluebird, professional songwriters who power some of music's greatest hits become superstars in their own right, and bonafide superstars like Yearwood revisit their roots with stripped-down vulnerability.

The bottom line: At the Bluebird, you can come face-to-face with people who sang or wrote the soundtrack of your life.

  • It is one of Nashville's great wonders.
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