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Bluebird on the Mountain series launches fifth season May 16

May. 12, 2009, 3:32 PM

In what has become a summertime tradition in Nashville, the popular Bluebird on the Mountain concert series begins its fifth season at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory. This year’s series opens with a show featuring performances by Kim Carnes, Peter Cooper, Greg Barnhill and Tim Nichols. Vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Tim Lauer, Billy Panda and Dave Ellingson will also be appearing onstage.

The 2009 series – which includes six concerts – runs from May 16 to Oct. 10 and will showcase nearly two dozen of Nashville’s most popular singer-songwriters.

Season tickets for the series are sold out, but advance tickets for single shows are available through Ticketmaster, which will add a handling fee. Single show tickets are $95 for a carload. No individual tickets will be available for this series. All concerts will be held rain or shine.

The Bluebird on the Mountain series is booked by Amy Kurland, founder of the Bluebird Cafe. Since 1982 the popular Nashville night spot has hosted a veritable who’s who of songwriters and performing talent including Garth Brooks, Mary Chapin-Carpenter and Kathy Mattea.

Other show dates for this season’s series are scheduled for June 20, July 18, Aug. 22, Sept. 26 and Oct. 10. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. shows. The June 20, July 18 and Aug. 22 shows, however, have an 8 p.m. start time with gates opening at 6 p.m.

Carnes, a veteran of this series, established herself in popular music with the hit “Bette Davis Eyes” in 1981. The song topped the Billboard chart for nine weeks and earned a Grammy for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Carnes has written chart-toppers for Ronnie Milsap and Kenny Rogers (“Make No Mistake, She’s Mine”), Vince Gill and Reba McEntire (“The Heart Won’t Lie”) and “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer,” a duet Carnes recorded with Kenny Rogers. Her latest album, Chasin’ Wild Trains, included original songs by Carnes and co-writers Kim Richey, Chuck Prophet, Al Anderson (of the group NRBQ) and Matraca Berg, among others.

Cooper not only writes about the music scene in Nashville for The Tennessean and numerous national publications, but also has become a key player as a musician. His 2008 album Mission Door for the Red Beet label received critical reviews and praise by heavy-hitting songwriters Tom T. Hall and Kris Kristofferson. Co-produced by legendary steel guitarist Lloyd Green, Cooper is joined on the album by Bill Lloyd, Nanci Griffith, Jason Ringenberg and Green. This will be Cooper’s first appearance at the Dyer series.

A multi-talented artist, Barnhill has written, recorded and produced a host of television themes including those for Murphy Brown, The Today Show, The View and Murder, She Wrote. A Louisiana native, Barnhill has written songs for some of Nashville’s most discriminating talents such as Pam Tillis, Martina McBride, Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs. In the early 1990s, Trisha Yearwood and Don Henley recorded “Walkaway Joe,” for which Barnhill received a Grammy nomination.

Nichols rose to national prominence as a songwriter with the Tim McGraw hit, “Live Like You Were Dying,” which he co-wrote with Craig Wiseman. McGraw’s version of the song topped the Radio & Records country chart for 10 weeks and earned Nichols a Grammy award in 2004 for Best Country Song and the CMA’s Song and Single of the Year awards. Nichols’ songs have been recorded by dozens of Nashville singers including Trace Adkins, (“[This Ain’t] No Thinkin’ Thing”), Patty Loveless, (“That’s the Kind of Mood I’m In”) and Jo Dee Messina (“Heads Carolina, Tails California”).

Other artists scheduled to appear during this year’s series include Bluebird Cafe favorites Danny Flowers, Fred Knobloch, Don Schlitz and Kim Richey.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket, lawn chairs and pack a picnic basket. After the show, visitors can linger to stargaze using the observatory’s Seyfert telescope. No RV’s or buses will be admitted.

Dyer Observatory is located at 1000 Oman Drive, off Granny White Pike between Old Hickory Blvd. and Otter Creek Road, near Radnor Lake. Directions are available at

Update: In the event of severe weather May 16, please check the calendar on the Dyer Observatory Web page for concert information or call (615) 373-4897.

Media Contact: Chris Skinker, (615) 322-NEWS