Amy Kurland To Be Presented With Frances Williams Preston Mentor Award At NaSHoF Ceremony
September 9 2013
Bluebird Café founder Amy Kurland will be presented with the Frances Williams Preston Mentor Award during the upcoming Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony on Oct. 13, 2013, it was announced today by Pat Alger, Chair of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation. The Mentor Award is presented each year to a dedicated individual who has nurtured songwriters and helped them master the art and craft of songwriting.
“Amy Kurland’s love and appreciation for songwriters is legendary,” said Alger. “As the founder of the Bluebird Café, she created a home for Nashville writers at every level of success to test their talents in front of a respectful and loyal audience. Amy was an early supporter of many of the most successful songwriters in town, many of whom are now members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Her steadfast belief that an audience was just as interested in the people that created a song as they were in the singer who sang it is the enduring strength behind the Bluebird’s iconic success and it set the standard for songwriter nights all over Nashville. Like the Bluebird Café, Amy Kurland has become synonymous with the Nashville songwriting community and Music City itself.”
Kurland receives the award named for Frances W. Preston, who influenced and nurtured the careers of thousands of songwriters, performers and publishers in all genres of music during her five-decade career at BMI. Previous recipients of the award are music publisher Bob Beckham (2008), music publisher Bill Hall (2009), Preston (2010), music publisher David Conrad (2011) and music publisher Donna Hilley (2012).
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony is one of the music industry’s foremost events of the year. The evening features tributes and performances of the inductees’ songs by special guest artists. NaSHOF’s sister organization, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), also presents its annual awards for the year’s Best Song, Songwriter and Songwriter/Artist, as well as the Top 10 “Songs I Wish I Had Written,” as determined by the professional songwriters division.
The 43rd Anniversary Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony ispresented by AT&T, and will take place at the Music City Center. Tickets for the event are $225 each. Seats are available to the public and may be purchased (as available) by contacting event director Mark Ford at [email protected] or (615) 256-3354.
About the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
To the world, Nashville is synonymous with music and songwriting. Since 1970, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame has honored Music City’s top tunesmiths – some of the greatest writers ever to pick a guitar, play a piano or put pencil to paper in search of the perfect song. To date, the hall boasts 188 members from all genres of music who have reached the pinnacle of their craft, including such luminaries as Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Garth Brooks, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Johnny Cash, "Cowboy" Jack Clement, Rodney Crowell, Don & Phil Everly, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Alan Jackson, Kris Kristofferson, Dave Loggins, Loretta Lynn, Bob McDill, Roger Miller, Bill Monroe, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Paul Overstreet, Dolly Parton, Dottie Rambo, Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, Mark D. Sanders, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker, Jimmy Webb, Marijohn Wilkin, Hank Williams, Hank Williams, Jr. and Bob Wills.
The Hall of Fame is funded and managed by the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the mission of educating, archiving and celebrating the songwriting profession uniquely associated with Nashville. In 2013, the Hall of Fame realized a long-held dream with the opening of a physical presence in Nashville’s new Music City Center. The steps from Songwriters Square at the corner of Fifth and Demonbreun lead up to the Hall of Fame Gallery, which features songwriting memorabilia as well as touch screens that allow visitors to access information about the history of Nashville songwriting.
Amy Kurland is the retired owner and manager of the world-famous listening room The Bluebird Café, which she opened in 1982. For more than 25 years, she mentored many of Nashville's top songwriters and artists, including Don Schlitz, Ashley Cleveland, Tony Arata and Kathy Mattea.
“Mentoring is a strange word for what I did,” Kurland says. “It was more about providing people with a place to play, encouraging them and helping to advance their careers.” Since donating The Bluebird Café to the Nashville Songwriters Association International in 2008, Kurland has remained actively involved with the venue, while serving on the boards for local drug and alcohol recovery centers Discovery Place and 202 Friendship House.
Of her time running the Bluebird, Kurland says, “So many wonderful, ridiculous things have happened because of the Bluebird. The movie, the book, now the TV show. I'm just glad that the Bluebird magic, whatever that is, wasn't all about me. It never really was about me. It was just about that thing. But maybe I chose it by saying, 'We're going to feature songwriters and we're going to take it seriously.'”