Nashville is made-up of stars, soon-to-be-stars, and some people who just want their songs to be heard. Whether you’re an aspiring legend, a long-time crooner seeking some fun, or a newcomer to the Nashville music scene, these are the best open mics and songwriter’s nights in Nashville. Now change those strings and get pickin’.
Family Wash / Lightning 100’s Writers Night
Wednesdays | 6-10pm
Lightning 100 is Nashville’s cutting-edge radio station. They host a weekly writers night at Family Wash / Garage Coffee in East Nashville every Wednesday from 6pm to 10pm. One writer each week gets a chance to debut a song on 100.1 FM, which is a huge perk of this writers night.
How to Play @ Open Mic: Sign-ups start at 6pm each Wednesday. Twenty artists will get a chance to perform. The first 20 overflow artists will have first priority the following week as long as they sign-up again the following week between 5:30pm and 6pm.
Douglas Corner Cafe
Tuesdays | 8pm
It’s hard to keep doors open at most clubs, but Douglas Corner has been around since 1987. Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, and Alan Jackson got their start here. This event is hosted by Donnie Winters of the Winters Brothers Band, who toured with Charlie Daniels and the Marshall Tucker Band.
How to Play @ Open Mic: Call 615.292.2530 on Tuesday between 1pm and 6pm. The earlier you call, the earlier you play. Each performer gets to play two songs. The show goes until every performer has played.
How to Schedule a Performance: Contact the venue directly.
Mondays | 6pm – 9pm
With the recent Nashville TV show, the Bluebird in Green Hills has gained even more popularity, making this one of the hottest open mics in the country and a go-to destination for Nashville visitors. Almost every country star has played at the Bluebird, so the stage emits positive vibes (even for non-country artists).
How to Play @ Open Mic: The Bluebird changed their sign-up policy on June 1, 2015. Call 615-943-8168 between 11am and Noon CST on Monday to sign-up. You cannot leave a message. You must keep trying until you speak with someone. The first 25 songwriters will be accepted and are allowed one guest. Once you’re on the list, you must be at the club and checked-in with the host by 5:15pm. Participating songwriters can play 1 to 2 original songs, solo or accompanied by no more than two others on stage. Drums and backing tracks are not allowed. A house Kawai digital piano (88 weighted keys) is available. Out-of-town songwriters are not giving priority.
How to Schedule a Performance: Learn more about The Bluebird and how to play on regular nights. It’s no easy process, but neither is sorting through all the submissions.
Commodore Grille @ Holiday Inn Select
Every Night Except Tuesdays | 6pm – 11:30pm
Don’t be turned off by the hotel bar and grille — it’s a popular place to play and listen. Other than Tuesdays, songwriters rounds are alive and well every night at the Commodore Grille.
How to Play @ Late Night Open Mic: Sign-up by 8pm. Eight performers will be selected to play between 10:30pm and 11:30pm.
How to Schedule a Performance: The acts between 6pm and 10:30pm are booked in advance. The best way to get a normal slot is to perform the late night open mic and connect with the hosts. For a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday performance, contact Debi Champion. For a Friday or Saturday performance, contact Rick or Tammy Stewart.
Did we leave off your favorite songwriter’s night? Let us know in the comments.