Bluebird Café To Change Hands

Nashville’s legendary songwriter venue, the Bluebird Café, will have a new owner come Jan. 1. Founder Amy Kurland, who opened the venue in 1982, is transferring ownership to the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).

While financial terms were not disclosed, NSAI says that Kurland structured the transfer to ensure that the Bluebird will provide financial support for NSAI's mission of protecting the rights of and serving aspiring and professional songwriters in all genres of music.

Kurland opened the café 25 years ago as a casual gourmet restaurant with some live music. It has evolved into the premiere Nashville showcase and a home for songwriters.

"As the Bluebird turned 25, I looked back through the years of wonderful music and started to consider the next 25 years," Kurland said in a prepared statement. "By partnering with NSAI, I feel sure that the Bluebird will always be here as a home for new and accomplished songwriters."

NSAI board president Steve Bogard said, "The terms of Amy Kurland's transfer of the Bluebird to NSAI can only be described as a gift to songwriters everywhere."

NSAI executive director Bart Herbison noted that "no changes" were planned for the Bluebird Café. He said the same staff would remain along with the format that Kurland started.

The announcement was made at a Nov. 8 event that featured a performance by one of NSAI’s founders, Kris Kristofferson.

The 96-seat venue was the setting for the 1993 film "The Thing Called Love," starring River Phoenix and Sandra Bullock.