Public opening includes meet & greet opportunity and an In The Round performance with the artist and fellow songwriters Buddy Owens and Steven Dale Jones
 
The two worlds of Ray Stephenson – painting and songwriting – collide as he celebrates the first installation of his work at The Bluebird Cafe. The exhibit – Ray Stephenson’s Songwriters On Canvas – will feature paintings from Stephenson’s genre spanning portfolio of iconic artists and musicians. For his Bluebird Café exhibit, Stephenson is focusing on legendary songwriters – both past and present.
 
The paintings Stephenson selected – and in some instances specifically painted – for the walls of The Bluebird Cafe concentrate exclusively on many of the most renowned figures in songwriting history. Some of these esteemed songwriters – from Willie Nelson to John Prine – have actually played The Bluebird Café. All of them are considered masters of their craft. In addition to paintings of Nelson and Prine, the exhibit will also feature paintings of Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Townes Van Zant, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Lennon & McCartney, Guy Clark and Johnny Cash to name just a few.

“These ‘heroes of song’ that Ray brings to life through his paintings represent the shoulders on which today’s songwriters stand.  Having them here at The Bluebird is both an homage to musical history and an inspiration for the current generation of writers who play here today.  His work not only portrays these iconic figures but also reflects their spirits and their characters, through his use of composite imagery and text, in a way that no photograph can duplicate,” said Bluebird Café GM, Erika Wollam Nichols.

"Music and painting for me are both sides of the same coin. They both are lyrical, both involve singing, both tell stories, and reach inside and speak to others from what is coming from inside of me,” explains Grammy Award winning songwriter Stephenson. “It’s an incredible opportunity to share both sides of my creativity in one venue, The Bluebird Cafe, which is where I began my songwriting career many years ago."
 
On May 20, 2016 at 5:30pm Stephenson will unveil his Songwriters On Canvas exhibit to the general public. At 6:30pm Stephenson – joined by songwriting contemporaries Buddy Owens and Steven Dale Jones – will then play an In The Round of their own songs, honoring the songwriting tradition created by those featured on the walls of The Bluebird Café.
 
There will be a meet & greet opportunity with Ray Stephenson preceding the public opening at 4:30pm. Meet & greet inquiries should be directed to Jaime Scorby (jaime@bluebirdcafe.com). Original paintings can be purchased from the exhibit (contact rstephensonART@gmail.com for more information), as well as prints of Stephenson’s artwork online at www.raystephenson.com.  

About The Bluebird Cafe
The Bluebird Cafe is one of the world’s preeminent listening rooms. Over the last 33+ years, The Bluebird has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s performance space where the “heroes behind the hits” perform their own songs; songs that have been recorded by chart-topping artists across all genres of music. Located in a small strip mall just outside of downtown Nashville, the 90-seat venue is unassuming in appearance but some of the most significant songwriters and artists have performed on The Bluebird’s stage. Some of those songwriters and artists include: Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kris Kristofferson, Carol King, Faith Hill, Vince Gill, Taylor Swift, Townes Van Zandt, Kathy Mattea and many, many more. Currently, The Bluebird Café is featured on the primetime ABC drama Nashville. More information about The Bluebird Cafe is available via www.bluebirdcafe.com.
 
About Ray Stephenson
As a songwriter, Ray was named “CCMA Songwriter of the Year” in 2013 at the Canadian Country Music Awards. His song Leaning on a Lonesome Song went number one in Canada for 5 weeks and #1 on the European country chart. In 2011, Ray wrote title tracks for Blake Shelton’s album Red River Blue and Kenny Chesney’s album Hemingway's Whiskey, which both reached #1 on the Billboard Album Charts and were certified Platinum.  He's been a part of four GRAMMY nominated projects and one GRAMMY winning project and written songs for Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, John Anderson, Guy Clark and many more. As a painter, Ray began Rock and Roll Paintings by Ray Stephenson in 2009. Stephenson is best known for his paintings of iconic Rock and Country legends. He’s been featured at the Nashville Airport and the Country Music Hall of Fame, CMT and in “Nashville Arts” and “South Georgia Living” magazines. His fine art is highly sought after by art collectors and is a part of several prestigious private collections. He has exhibited his work in Nashville, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Atlanta, and the US Virgin islands. Currently in Nashville, his art is on exhibit at the Ascend Amphitheater and The Bluebird Cafe where he is a regular performer. More information about Ray Stephenson is available via http://www.raystephenson.com