The Bluebird Cafe Songwriter Series at Opry City Stage


Photo Credit: Jim Belmont

Friday night The Studio at Opry City Stage hosted its very first Bluebird Cafe Songwriter Series, an event that mimics Nashville’s iconic intimate venue.  Bringing a little taste of a songwriter round to the heart of Times Square, writers JT Harding, Nicolle Gaylon and Chris Destafano took the stage for back to back shows. This “in the round” style performance gives a chance for the songwriters of our favorite songs to sit and explain the writing process to the audience.

The intimate setting of The Studio which seats just under 200 was packed with fans of country music.  There was a quiet excitement buzz in the room as the wait staff took everyone’s food and drink order before the show started.

The writers took the stage and took turns singing songs that they had written for artists in the genre.  JT Harding sang “Different For Girls” a song that was cut by Dierks Bentley and Elle King, then during his next round explained his affinity for sad songs.  “I write a lot of slow songs. It’s a hard lesson to learn in life, as simple as it sounds, but as far as I can tell you can’t make somebody love you, you can only stalk them and hope for the best,” he laughed. “When that doesn’t work, we write songs” he explained as he started Kenny Chesney’s monster hit “Somewhere With You”.

Nicolle Galyon who has had a multitude of hits picked by some of her favorites to perform for the audience including “Automatic” a song she penned with Miranda Lambert just three weeks after giving birth to her daughter and “We Were Us” another Miranda Lambert song that she duets with Keith Urban.  She told the story about her very first time on a plane, her and her mother went to Fan Fair (CMA Fest) in Nashville and she waited in line to get Kenny Chesney’s autograph. Twenty years later, Galyon had a number one hit with Chesney with “All the Pretty Girls”.  “If you stalk country music long enough good things might happen,” she laughed before playing a slowed down version of the song.  She ended her set of songs with two of her radio singles climbing the charts, Lee Brice’s “Boy” and Keith Urban’s “Female” which is nominated for Song of the Year at next month’s ACM Awards.

Last in the lineup, Chris DeStafano kicked off his set of songs with his recent cut collaboration by Carrie Underwood and Ludacris called “Champion”.  “It’s the most special thing in the world as a songwriter to see how the song is affecting and inspiring so many people,” he said.  He also performed “From the Ground Up”, cut by Dan + Shay, an upbeat version of  Luke Bryan’s “Kick the Dust Up” that had the audience clapping along. He ended the night with an emotionally driven version of Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water”.

Overall the night was a resounding success, proving that New Yorkers love to feel like they have escaped from the hustle and bustle of the city and are in Nashville even if it is for only a few hours. Head to for information and tickets for the next songwriter series happening this Friday, March 30th.



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Walker Hayes

Walker Hayes Entertains at American Beauty & Brings Out a Special Guest

Walker Hayes NYC

With his 10-track album, Boom slated for release in just over a month, Walker Hayes the talented country artist played to a packed NYC venue last night. The Alabama native and father of six gives a unique spin to the country genre, combining spoken word and song.  While some artists in the genre are lacing their latest hits with pop or R&B, Hayes infuses his clever lyrics with hip-hop to create something new.

Although this wasn’t his first show in the big apple, Hayes was grateful to be back again, this time with a full band. He played songs off his 8tracks Vol. 1 including “Beautiful”, “Dollar Store” and his breakout radio hit “You Broke Up With Me”, as well as “Beckett”, “Break the Internet” and “Your Girlfriend Does” off of his second installment of his 8tracks.

Walker Hayes NYC

Two highlights of the night included with Hayes took a moment to slow things down and tell a story about life before his newly found fame.  Explaining that before his record deal with Monument Records, he was working the morning shift at Costco, his car was falling apart and he didn’t have the money to fix it. Using his daughter’s thumbtacks to hold up the material of the roof and wondering if he should continue to pursue his dreams of a music career, he wrote “Lela’s Stars”.

Walker Hayes / Nicole Gaylon

Several times throughout the night, Hayes thanked the audience for being there, for knowing his lyrics and for singing them back to him.  As a surprise to the fans, Nicolle Galyon, number one hit songwriter joined Hayes on stage to sing the chorus of the song they wrote together “Halloween”.  The duet was fitting considering the show took place one night before the beloved holiday.

The 60-minute set allowed fans to dig deeper into what Hayes’ brings to the table as an artist and a songwriter.  He is genuine and his lyrics reflect the good and bad parts of his life thus far. Pre-order Boom on iTunes here and automatically get “Beautiful”, “Halloween” and “You Broke Up With Me”.


Walker Hayes in New York City with New York Country Swag Managing Editor, Christina Bosch (Left) and New York Country Swag Founder, Stephanie Wagner (Right)



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Click Here to learn more about NYCountry Swag
+ Follow our Country Music Adventures on Instagram, @NYCOUNTRYSWAG!

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