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Bluebird on the Mountain series launches fourth season; May show to spotlight Tony Haselden, Georgia Middleman and Billy Kirsch

May. 14, 2008, 3:46 PM

In what has become a summertime tradition in Nashville, the popular Bluebird on the Mountain concert series begins its fourth season at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory. This year’s series opens with a show featuring performances by Tony Haselden, Georgia Middleman and Billy Kirsch. The 2008 series – which includes six concerts – runs from May 17 to Oct. 11 and will showcase nearly two dozen of Nashville’s finest singer-songwriters.

Advance tickets are available through Ticketmaster, which will add a handling fee. Tickets are limited, and past performances have sold out in advance of the show, so it is advisable to get your tickets early. All concerts will be held rain or shine.

The Bluebird on the Mountain series is booked by Amy Kurland, founder of the Bluebird Café. Since 1982 the popular Nashville night spot has hosted a veritable who’s who of songwriters and performing talent including Garth Brooks, Mary Chapin-Carpenter and. Kathy Mattea.

Other show dates for the 2008 series are June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 13 and Oct. 11. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. shows. The June 21, July 19 and Aug. 16 shows, however, have an 8:00 p.m. start time with gates opening at 6 p.m.

Tony Haselden is a Louisiana native who began his musical career as a member of the band Louisiana LeRoux, a group that fused blues, funk, R&B and Cajun music. Through the years the band has toured with artists including The Doobie Brothers, Stephen Stills, John Prine and the late bluesman Muddy Waters.

Haselden, a singer and guitarist who wrote many of the group’s songs, relocated to Nashville several years ago to try his hand on Music Row. He found success not only as a songwriter but also as a producer. His songs have been recorded by Keith Whitley ("It Ain’t Nothin’") and George Strait ("You Know Me Better Than That"), while his production credits include family groups The Kinleys and The Wilkinsons.

A native of Texas, Georgia Middleman studied theatre at NYU and performed in several off-Broadway productions before moving to Nashville in the early 1990s. Like many aspiring writers, she initially supported herself with a variety of odd jobs before Polygram Music signed her as a staff writer in 1997. Middleman soon assembled a band and began playing local club dates in the area where she caught the attention of an executive with Giant Records. Middleman released her first album, Endless Possibilities, which included the fan-favorite "Kick the Door Down."

Subsequent albums Unchanged and Things I Didn’t Know, have both been received with overwhelming enthusiasm. Middleman has written songs for some of country music’s most popular singers including "Dearly Beloved" (Faith Hill), "The First to Fall" (Terri Clark) and Joe Nichols’ "Don’t Ruin It for the Rest of Us."

Rounding out the concert is songwriter and pianist Billy Kirsch. After enjoying a successful career as a jazz pianist – including a stint with Eddie Condon’s All-Stars – Kirsch left an indelible mark on country music as the co-writer of Steve Wariner’s late 1990s hit recording of "Holes in the Floor of Heaven." That song was named the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year in 1998 and was nominated for a Grammy the following year.

In addition to Warniner, Kirsch has penned or performed on recordings by Wynonna Judd ("Is It Over Yet"), Alabama ("Of Course I’m Alright") and Tim McGraw ("Why We Said Goodbye"). In recent years, Kirsch has turned his attention back to live performances that include the "Hit Songs & True Stories" show, a corporate team building seminar and concert.

Other artists scheduled to appear during this year include Bluebird Café favorites Kim Carnes, Fred Knobloch, Don Schlitz and Dean Dillon.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket, lawn chairs and pack a picnic basket. After the show, visitors can linger to stargaze using the observatory’s Seyfert telescope. Season tickets for carloads with a maximum of eight people are $375 for the full series. No RV’s or buses will be admitted. Single show tickets are $90 for a carload. No single tickets will be available for this season’s series.

Dyer Observatory is located at 1000 Oman Drive, off Granny White Pike between Old Hickory Blvd. and Otter Creek Road, near Radnor Lake. A map is available at www.dyer.vanderbilt.edu/directions.htm.

Media Contact: Chris Skinker, (615) 322-NEWS
Chris.skinker@vanderbilt.edu

-VU-


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