My Favorite Open Mic In Nashville

As a general rule, I don't really like open mics. I'm sure I've written about this before somewhere, but there it is again. The problem with open mics is embedded in their very format - they're open. Anyone can sign up, anyone can play. And as I wrote in my last post, even in Nashville that means on any given night the quality of the performers will range from "great" to "what the hell was that," and you hope that you lean more toward the former than the latter. But keeping that in mind - and the fact that I haven't been to every one Nashville has to offer - the open mic that is quickly becoming my favorite is the Douglas Corner Cafe. Why? I'll tell you.

Donnie Winters - The Douglas Corner Open Mic/Writer's Night is hosted by Donnie Winters, a friendly, welcoming musician who has been around for years and years. He's patient and relaxed with the performers, often joins some of the songwriters on their songs, and facilitates a great atmosphere to play and meet others.

Great Sound System - Not having the right mic placement or being unable to hear yourself well enough can really throw your performance off, especially for a keyboard player like myself. Guitar players have their instrument right with them as they're singing, but if I can't hear my keyboard well enough through the monitor it can make things difficult. Thankfully, that's never a problem here.

Two Songs - A lot of open mics in town you get one song, and when you sometimes have to sign up by 8 to not play til after 10, only getting to play one song can be frustrating. But at Douglas Corner you get 2 to show your work, every time.

Round Style - A writer's round is when you have three or four songwriters on stage, each taking turns playing a song, and this is how Douglas Corner is set up. Four writers on stage playing one song apiece, and then one song apiece again. It's good for the writers and the listeners.

The Regulars - Douglas Corner, unlike some other open mics, actually has regulars who play there every week, and most likely they're the ones you want to hear each week. Why do they keep coming back? My guess is the reasons that I've mentioned above.

$2.75 PBRs - This one should be pretty self-explanatory.

You Never Know What To Expect - The last time I played there I shared the stage with a husband & wife who sang foreign songs and spirituals a cappella. And during one of the songs by the 4th person on stage they started to slow dance. It was...weird. The wife was crazy. I'm sure that despite my efforts my face told the audience exactly what I was thinking.

I'll keep checking out open mics in town, but the bar's been set pretty high. I'll see you there on Tuesday.

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    © STEVE SCHULTZ