Songbird Cafe Concert Series Celebrates Five Years In St. Louis

 In Culture, Interviews

On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Songbird Café celebrates its fifth anniversary with a performance at Focal Point that brings the intimate concert series full circle.

St. Louis musicians Brian Henneman and Kip Loui, who both appeared at the very first Songbird Café concert in November 2011, return as part of the four-musician lineup of singer/songwriters that makes the series unique. Along with musicians Dana Michael Anderson and Samuel Gregg, they’ll take turns performing their own songs in the round, surrounded by the audience.

Steve St. Cyr founded the Songbird Café series in St. Louis after attending similar four-musician performances at the legendary Bluebird Café in Nashville with his wife Susie.

ALIVE caught up with St. Cyr to talk about how he started the series started and made it grow, what he’s learned in the process and where he sees Songbird Café heading in the future.

ALIVE: Nashville’s Bluebird Café was clearly your inspiration for starting the series here. What made you think a similar format could work in St. Louis?

St. Cyr: I just loved the Bluebird’s format of four songwriters performing their songs in the round. I knew nothing like it was being done in St. Louis and thought it could work here. Thankfully, the people who run the Bluebird were happy to talk to me and help me get started with my Songbird series.

L to R: Musicians Danny Kathriner and Chris Grabau, Songbird founder Steve St. Cyr, soundman Dale Ashauer, musicians Auset Sarno and Paige Brubeck

L to R: Musicians Danny Kathriner and Chris Grabau, Songbird founder Steve St. Cyr, soundman Dale Ashauer, musicians Auset Sarno and Paige Brubeck.

ALIVE: Nashville is a destination for musicians and songwriters, so the Bluebird has a huge pool of talent to draw from. Were you concerned about having enough talented musicians in the St. Louis area to make the series work on an ongoing basis?

St. Cyr: We hoped there’d be enough local talent to keep it going, and we’ve found out it’s more than enough. It’s amazing how much good local talent there is. And over the years, we’ve also brought in musicians from other places as well, and quite a few have been from Nashville.

ALIVE: What’s the attraction of this format for musicians?

St. Cyr: Musicians usually don’t get this kind of performance outlet, playing in such an intimate setting with other songwriters in unique combinations. And unlike playing in a bar, people are actually listening to their music, so that’s really appealing to the musicians as well as the audience!

ALIVE: Where is Songbird Café headed in the next five years?

St. Cyr: The Oct. 26 concert will be our 46th show, and 41 of those will have been done at Focal Point. It’s a wonderful, intimate venue that works really well for our format of presenting songwriters performing in the round. But I’ve always thought Songbird Café is a moveable feast that can work in a variety of venues. And although we will always have a strong focus on presenting the talented musicians right here in the area, I would also like to showcase more nationally know musicians in the series, as well.

Learn more about the Songbird Café on Facebook.

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