Sue Brewer became legendary in Nashville for her generosity to the city's
songwriting community. During the 1960s and 1970s, she became a champion of
struggling artists and writers on Music Row. She opened her heart, her home and
her pocketbook to many.
Her first job in the music business was publicizing concerts
for country singer Webb Pierce. In Nashville, she worked for more than a dozen years
at the fan magazine Music City News. A single mother, she also worked a
late shift at a Music Row venue called the Derby Club.
She turned her apartment at 911 18th Avenue South into an after-hours clubhouse
for music folks, hosting "guitar pulls" in her living room where writers such
as Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, Harlan Howard, Willie
Nelson, Dallas Frazier or Jack Clement could gather to swap songs with one
another. The truly broke among them could always find a place to sleep on her
Others who could be found at her informal get-togethers included Faron Young
(the original owner of Music City News), Johnny Paycheck, Webb Pierce,
George Jones and Jimmy Dickens. She dubbed their hangout the "Boar's Nest."
Later, the popular TV show The Dukes of Hazzard dubbed its
restaurant/bar the Boar's Nest, reportedly in tribute. Jennings narrated that
When George Jones opened his Possum Holler nightclub in downtown Nashville in
1967, Brewer worked nights there as its manager. Once again, it became a place
where entertainers came to hang out and to perform for free.
One of the songwriters she befriended and mothered was Vince Matthews. In 1972,
he and Shel Silverstein co-wrote "On Susan's Floor" in her honor. It has since
been recorded by Mac Wiseman (1972), Gordon Lightfoot (1972), Hank Williams Jr.
(1975) and several other artists.
Toward the end of her life, she answered fan mail for Waylon Jennings. The star
gave Brewer and her son a free home to live in as her health deteriorated. Sue
Brewer died of cancer in 1981 at age 48.
In 1984, Jennings established the Sue Brewer Fund, which provides music
scholarships for students at Belmont and Vanderbilt universities. The fund is
administered by the Songwriters Guild.
In 1985, Brewer was the subject of a two-hour tribute/benefit all-star TV
special in Nashville titled The Door Is Always Open. She was inducted as
an honorary member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1990.