The Untold Truth Of The Bluebird Cafe

Talk about a slice of music history! The 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards adapted to COVID-19 times, broadcasting live and socially distanced, not from a glitzy award show stage, but from three iconic music venues in the heart of Nashville, Tenn., per Rolling Stone. 

Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood wowed audiences with their performances — a stunning rendition of the track "betty" and a mind-blowing country medley, respectively — at the Grand Ole Opry House, per The Tennesseean. Meanwhile, country powerhouse and the ACM's most decorated star, Miranda Lambert, serenaded us more closely with her spellbinding track "Bluebird" live from (fittingly enough) the Bluebird Cafe. 

Also performing at the Bluebird Cafe (well, sort of) were Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani. The lovebirds performed their newest duet, "Happy Anywhere" (are they, though?) on a green screen that was set to look like the Bluebird Cafe, where Shelton's ex-wife Lambert actually was. Coincidence, or...?  

"Gwen and I wish that we could be in Nashville tonight, but we couldn't," Blake said without explaining further, per Just Jared. "But, through the magic of television, voila! Welcome back to the Bluebird Cafe, everybody." The star then snapped his fingers, and the backdrop turned into what looked like the venue. Fair enough!

But wait, aren't you curious why this little joint, the Bluebird Cafe, made the cut alongside the Opry and Ryman Auditorium, two classic country halls, as one of the ACM Awards' featured venues? Well, here's the amazing history you didn't know about the Bluebird Cafe.

The cafe has hosted Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift

So what's the story behind the Bluebird Cafe? According to its website, the small, 100-seat restaurant opened in 1982, with its founder adding a small stage and getting friends involved to book acts for the after-dinner crowd. Since then, it's grown into a piece of country music history. According to The Washington Post, Taylor Swift played there before she even signed a record deal. The cafe has also seen iconic performances from Garth BrooksKeith Urban, and much more, per its website. These days, it's tough to get in without a reservation, but back in the glory days, you could just show up and hear some country goodness.

Part of the charm, per WaPo, is the "physical closeness of the cozy room." The stage is adorned by white lights and covered in pictures of country stars who've graced it. Musicians sit at the center and are surrounded by the crowd. Many artists choose to play "deeply personal songs" since the venue is so intimate, the outlet reported. "It has become a celebrity in and of itself," Erika Nichols, the Bluebird's general manager told WaPo. "You can feel the foot tap on the carpet when someone pours their heart out right next to you," added actor Charles Esten, who performs at the venue on the series Nashville

The Bluebird Cafe seems like a pretty incredible place. Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, you missed out!