The Bluebird Café has installed a new art exhibit featuring the work of Nashville songwriter Ray Stephenson. The exhibit features his paintings of legendary songwriters, both past and present.
The paintings Stephenson selected – and in some instances specifically painted – for the walls of The Bluebird Café concentrate exclusively on renowned figures in songwriting history. Some of these esteemed songwriters – from Willie Nelson to John Prine – have actually played The Bluebird Café.
In addition to paintings of Nelson and Prine, the exhibit also features paintings of Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Townes Van Zandt, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Lennon & McCartney, Guy Clark and Johnny Cash.
Stephenson joined songwriter friends Buddy Owens and Steven Dale Jones on Friday (May 20) for an in-the-round performance and exhibit opening party.
“Music and painting for me are both sides of the same coin. They both are lyrical, both involve singing, both tell stories, and reach inside and speak to others from what is coming from inside of me,” Stephenson explains. “It’s an incredible opportunity to share both sides of my creativity in one venue, The Bluebird Café, which is where I began my songwriting career many years ago.”
Bluebird Café GM Erika Wollam Nichols said, “These ‘heroes of song’ that Ray brings to life through his paintings represent the shoulders on which today’s songwriters stand. Having them here at The Bluebird is both an homage to musical history and an inspiration for the current generation of writers who play here today. His work not only portrays these iconic figures but also reflects their spirits and their characters, through his use of composite imagery and text, in a way that no photograph can duplicate.”
Stephenson’s songwriting credits include the title tracks of Kenny Chesney’s Hemingway’s Whiskey and Blake Shelton’s Red River Blue.
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