Popular Nashville Music Landmark

Bluebird is an exuberant music documentary on Nashville’s vital destination for live music, the Bluebird Café. It has long been a spot for emerging singers and songwriters in the Nashville scene since the early ’80s. The Bluebird Café is a 90-seat music club in Nashville that has seen virtually everyone that matters in modern country pass through its doors. Superstars like Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift and Faith Hill have all performed there, long before they became household names in the music industry.

Director Brian LoSchiavo crafts a loving tribute to the country music hot spot, bolstered by several incredible acoustic performances from current stars and a wide range of acts discussing what the small venue means to them. The club’s location itself is nothing special. The Bluebird Café only has 20 tables, 10 bar seats, and eight short church pews to seat guests.

The documentary’s guest line-up reads like a who’s who of country music, from legendary performers to songwriters in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Vince Gill, Steve Earle, Pam Tillis, Jason Isbell, Don Schlitz, Trisha Yearwood, Kathy Mattea, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Taylor Swift, and other stars make appearances.

Bluebird is essential viewing for Country music fans

A showcase venue for eager young songwriters and musicians hoping to make it in Nashville, the Bluebird Café’s small space lends itself best to acoustic Country and Americana. That didn’t stop a litany of rock, folk and other acts from stopping by over the years.

The musical performances captured in the documentary are truly phenomenal, a real delight for country music fans. Pop superstar Taylor Swift performs a heartbreaking acoustic rendition of her song “Better Man” in a return to her country roots. Ground zero for Garth Brooks’ recording career in Nashville, the country music legend returns to sit-in with the songwriters that helped make him a superstar.

Established musicians and aspiring songwriters share the stage in Bluebird. The documentary has a comfortable approach covering all the people that have made the live venue a special place – including original founder Amy Kurland, current management, former employees, performers and those simply wishing to experience the iconic Bluebird Café in person.

Bluebird is essential viewing for Country music fans. It provides an intimate glimpse into what has become a must-stop destination in Nashville for live music.

Video

MVD provides a beautifully crisp presentation in razor-sharp 1080P video. The 2.40:1 documentary exudes depth and stunning clarity, filmed with the latest digital cameras. Bluebird runs over 82 minutes, encoded in MPEG-2 on a BD-25. The good news is that the ancient MPEG-2 encode has no problems with the richly detailed digital filmmaking.

There’s excellent consistency in the picture quality. Talking head interviews are on par with the superb live performances. Silky smooth black levels, a ripe contrast, and rich color saturation produce nicely mannered video quality.

Audio

Cleopatra Entertainment inexplicably continues including lossy audio only on their Blu-ray releases aimed at music fans. Given the range of stunning acoustic performances seen in Bluebird, everyone from Jason Isbell to country music songwriter Don Schlitz performing his megahit song “The Gambler”, the best we get is 5.1 Dolby Digital quality. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the sonic presentation and the music sounds great on Blu-ray, but that doesn’t excuse missing lossless audio in 2020.

It is a generous surround mix with clean fidelity, showcasing the intimate performances in perfect acoustic clarity. The expansive soundstage helps immerse the listener. Most of the surround usage is traditional concert mixing, pushing audience noise towards the rear.

Lesser 2.0 Dolby Digital is included as well, clearly inferior to the more spacious and rocking surround mix. No subtitles are included.

Extras

Cleopatra Entertainment and distributor MVD provide a few supplements for the country music documentary. Would have been nice to get uncut video of the musical guest performances from Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift.

The Blu-ray is coded for all regions.

Image Slideshow (02:40 in HD)

Bluebird Trailer (02:23 in HD)

Testimonials (HD) – Fifteen uncut testimonials and interviews by various country and folk singers discussing what the Bluebird Cafe means to them. Clips taken from the testimonials are seen early in the documentary. Acts include everyone from the Brothers Osbourne to Striking Matches. None run longer than a couple minutes.

Cleopatra Entertainment Trailers (All in HD) – Melody Makers (03:16), Come On Feel The Noize (01:35), Life After Flash (02:26), Band Vs. Brand (02:15)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Bluebird
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A glowing music documentary about the legendary Nashville night spot with superstars Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift making appearances.

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