The "Bluebird" Flies On

bluebird cafe nashville couric and co

Last night in Nashville, it was country music's biggest night, when music city celebrates its biggest names. But standing in the shadows of the CMA spotlight are Nashville's unsung heroes, those who pack both picks and pens into their guitar cases, CBS News anchor Katie Couric reports.

If the Ryman Auditorium is the mother church of country music, then this is the temple of the country's purest souls.

It's the place Nashville's humble call home, the Bluebird Café. A sanctuary for anonymous songwriters, doling out their newest ditties for a discriminating audience.

Owner Amy Kurland didn't intend for music to be the main course when she opened the Bluebird in 1982. All she envisioned was a gourmet restaurant serving lunch and dinner, with a few light songs on the side.

"I just wanted to have fun, and then the music just took over," Kurland told Couric.

Since then, the Bluebird's been both a testing ground and a launching pad for some of Nashville's greatest names…

"Faith Hill showcased here. One of the biggest stars who got his stars here is Garth Brooks."

…and greatest numbers.

"From the beginning I had a songwriter named Don Schulz who's played here. And he had one hit with "the Gambler," a huge hit," Kurland said.

But after 25 years, Kurland says she's ready to sing a different tune: retirement.

"I wanna make sure that the Bluebird is in the best possible hands so that it can have a life beyond me," she said.

So in a ceremony here tonight, she will officially donate the Bluebird Café to the National Songwriters Association.

"I chose an organization that has the same love for songwriters that I have, and I believe that they can do things with it," she said.

Now these songbirds will never have to leave the nest.