While many are familiar with legendary Nashville music venues like the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, there are plenty of other places to enjoy original live music around town. After all, with a nickname like Music City, it’s no secret that Nashville’s cup runneth over with songwriters and local talent. And if you know the right stages to get in front of, you may be lucky enough to one day say, “I knew them when … ” Here are some of the best spots in Nashville to watch local songwriters perform their latest offerings.
Writers’ Rounds: Where to Watch Nashville Songwriters
2117 Belcourt Ave., Nashville, TN 37212 • (615) 915-3622
Located in Hillsboro Village, Belcourt Taps hosts local writers’ rounds every day of the week, usually hosting multiple rounds each day, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch a show. It’s a small, intimate venue, but don’t let its size deceive you. Notable past performers have included Emily Weisband, Jordan Davis, and Natalie Stovall of Runaway June. When visiting Belcourt Taps, expect to enjoy a more traditional writers’ round, where one songwriter hosts the event and invites three to four other songwriters to take turns performing original songs. In addition to these rounds, the venue is known to host occasional open mic nights, which is another great way to get up close and personal with Nashville talent. Belcourt Taps also serves as a restaurant and bar, so you can enjoy food and drinks throughout the show.
210 Louise Ave., Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 321-2626
Café Coco is a trendy coffee shop, restaurant, and music venue all in one. Located in Midtown just off Elliston Place (aka Nashville’s famous “Rock Block”), be sure to stop by this local café during one of its songwriters’ nights. Taking place every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the “Café Coco Backstage” area, local songwriters take the stage in an open mic format. Between the shocking level of talent and the quirky, eclectic atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot to unwind with great live music and a cocktail.
2613 West End Ave., Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 327-4707
Attached to West End’s Holiday Inn, Commodore Grille is a local restaurant that hosts writers’ rounds several nights a week. Debi Champion’s Songwriters’ Nights take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The event is hosted by local singer/songwriter Debi Champion and features about 15 songwriters performing original songs. The restaurant also hosts songwriter showcases with four separate writers’ rounds every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. This is an excellent spot to witness Music City’s up-and-coming talent.
H.O.M.E. Writers’ Night
615 Main St., Ste. G1, Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 543-8863
Described as “an incubator for the music industry,” Helping Our Music Evolve (H.O.M.E.) is another great spot to watch local songwriters. Partnering with Lightning 100, the nonprofit organization hosts a monthly songwriters’ night — typically on the second Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The evening consists of two sets of 10 performances, and each featured songwriter performs two original songs. Performers typically vary in genre, so no matter your musical preference, you’re almost guaranteed to find someone you like.
The Bluebird Café
4104 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215 • (615) 383-1461
Perhaps most well-known for helping launch careers of country superstars like Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks, The Bluebird Café is truly a Nashville staple. The venue hosts “in the round” events nearly every night of the week, featuring both up-and-coming artists as well as writers whose songs have topped music charts. The venue is known for hosting open mic-style events on Mondays at 6 p.m. as well as a songwriter’s night every Saturday at 8 p.m. While The Bluebird Café may arguably be the most popular venue to watch a writers’ round, its atmosphere still manages to be cozy and intimate. In fact, songwriters often interact with audience members, telling stories of how their songs came to be.
SB TIP: Monday shows are seated on a first-come, first-served basis, but reservations are strongly recommended for all other shows. Typically, reservations become available a week ahead of the show date. Visit their reservations page for a full breakdown of how to snag a reservation.
The Listening Room
618 4th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37210 • (615) 259-3600
We’d also be remiss not to mention The Listening Room. Since 2006, this restaurant and music venue has been hosting nightly writers’ rounds, where locals and tourists alike can see the songwriters behind some of country music’s biggest hits. Previous songwriters have included Hannah Ellis, who has written hits for Cassadee Pope, Tim McGraw, and Keith Urban, as well as Mark Irwin, who has written songs for Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, and Tyler Farr. Plus, you never know who might show up … Carly Pearce, Mitchell Tenpenny, and Keith Urban have all made special appearances at The Listening Room.
SB TIP: Every Monday, the venue hosts an acoustic showcase called Song Suffragettes, the only all-female country music singer-songwriter showcase. It’s a can’t-miss writers’ round!
1913 Division St., Nashville, TN 37203
Even if you haven’t lived in Nashville long, chances are good that you’ve heard about Whiskey Jam. The free music series takes place every Monday at 8 p.m. at Winners Bar & Grill in Midtown. The event began in 2011 as an underground songwriters’ night, but over the years, it has grown into a massive event for the Nashville music industry. In addition to chart-topping country singers like Jimmie Allen, Maren Morris, and Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay, the weekly event also invites up-and-coming songwriters to perform their original songs. In fact, since its inception, over 2,500 different artists have performed on the Whiskey Jam stage. This is a great way to see your favorite country artists as well as some fresh talent.
3rd & Lindsley
818 3rd Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37210 • (615) 259-9891
In addition to serving as a traditional concert venue, 3rd & Lindsley also shines a special spotlight on local songwriters, hosting Backstage Nashville every Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The event was founded in 2016 and is known to host both well-known and up-and-coming songwriters. In fact, many of the event’s musicians have written songs for mainstream artists like Garth Brooks, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Taylor Swift, and many more. Plus, the series has been known to launch songwriters’ careers, including artists like Tigirlily (yes, you read that right) and Abby Anderson.
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