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Songwriters from across the state to perform at The Bluebird Cafe Finale of Tennessee Songwriters Week

June 17, 2019 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Winning songwriters from the inaugural Tennessee Songwriters Week Open Mic Night events will perform at The Bluebird Cafe Sunday, March 31, 2019. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, in partnership with The Bluebird Cafe, held four open mic nights in Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Johnson City during the first-ever Tennessee Songwriters Week last week. More than 100 songwriters performed at the four open mic nights across the state. Each of the four winners won a specialty Tennessee Songwriters Week-branded Epiphone guitar, tickets to a show at the historic Bluebird during Tin Pan South, a two-night hotel stay in Nashville and a travel gift card.

“Songwriting is important to me because it creates an outlet for me to expose and share emotions I would otherwise be anxious to keep inside,” said Katrina Barclay, who won the competition at The Camp House in Chattanooga.

The Bluebird Cafe’s long-time open mic night host and songwriter Barbara Cloyd, along with a panel of local judges, selected the top songwriter from each event. Songs were evaluated and scored on a numerical scale considering both the song and the performance. Judges looked at the originality of the song and the song’s ability to create an emotional connection with the listener.

Seth Thomas, who won the Open Mic Night at The Down Home in Johnson City, moved the crowd to tears when he sang a song in memory of his father who passed away last year. Thomas’ mother wrapped her arms around her son when he was announced the winner. Travis Bigwood & the Lonesome Doves won the Open Mic Night at WDVX at Visit Knoxville.

“Being chosen to represent Memphis out of 25 beautiful, soulful works of art is such an incredible privilege for us. We are so thankful for this opportunity. Our (BIG) dreams are coming alive with the momentum this contest has provided,” said Shara Matlock and Austin Carroll, who won the Open Mic Night at Lafayette’s Music Room in Memphis.

Local businesses and venues across the state held dozens of special events. The Commodore Hotel & Music Café in Linden held a Songwriters Open Mic Night Friday, February 22. Songwriter Craig Rollins won a free virtual mentoring session with Songwriting University, which offers aspiring songwriters the opportunity to be mentored by accomplished industry hit-makers. Kenny Rogers also sang. The budding songwriter started writing at 60-years-old. Brian “Doc” Edwards’ original song, (All I Need is) “Sweet Tea and Jesus” was a crowd favorite. Featured artist Brian Warren rounded out the night.

“Music on the Mountain” at JD Oliver’s Smokehouse in Monteagle also featured songwriters Cole Fosberry & Amanda June. Cole appeared on Season 5 of “The Voice” in Los Angeles. The event also featured the Flat River Band. In Brownsville, five featured songwriters performed at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, followed by an open jam.

The state statute passed earlier this year annually designates the last full week of February as “Tennessee Songwriters Week.” The week is designed to celebrate the foundation of the craft, recognize past and present songwriters and pave the way for future artists.

Plans are already underway for next year to expand special programming, open mic nights, in-the-rounds, songwriter showcases and educational opportunities to celebrate songwriters and drive visitation. For more information as it becomes available, visit

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