Winning songwriters from the inaugural Tennessee Songwriters Week Open Mic Night events performed at the historic stage at The Bluebird Cafe Sunday, March 31. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, in partnership with The Bluebird Cafe, held four open mic nights in Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Johnson City during the first-ever “Tennessee Songwriters Week” back in February. More than 30 events were held across the state. Plans are underway to create more opportunities in 2020 with open-mic nights, songwriter showcases and educational workshops. The state statute passed in 2018 annually designates the last full week of February as “Tennessee Songwriters Week,” designed to celebrate the foundation of the craft, recognize past and present songwriters and pave the way for future artists.
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2019 Open Mic Night Winners
Songwriting duo Austin Carroll and Shara Matlock stole the show and impressed the Memphis judges on Feb. 19. “We are so thankful for this opportunity,” they said. “Our (big) dreams are coming alive with the momentum this contest has provided.”
On Feb. 21, Katrina Barclay was chosen as the Chattanooga winner at The Camp House. “This competition has given me the opportunity to share my art with a much larger circle … It makes me want to strive to write better, smarter and more passionately,” she said.
On Feb. 22, Travis Bigwood and the Lonesome Doves won over the Knoxville judges with their songs and storytelling. Travis said, “I started writing songs because I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to share … my experiences growing up in East Tennessee and feel that connection that only music can bring to people.”
Seth Thomas moved the crowd to tears when he sang a song in memory of his father who passed away last year. His mother watched from the crowd, and they celebrated together when he was announced as the Johnson City winner at The Down Home on Feb. 23.