Freedom Sings celebrates free expression through music

Tuesday, July 13, 1999

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Freedom Sings™, a two-night celebration of freedom of expression through music, presented by the First Amendment Center, is set for tonight and tomorrow night, July 13-14, at the Bluebird Cafe.

“Freedom Sings reminds us that the First Amendment protects all free expression, including the power, passion and poetry of music,” said Kenneth A. Paulson, executive director of The First Amendment Center.

Performances each night will begin at 9 p.m. at the Bluebird Cafe, 4104 Hillsboro Road, Nashville.

Artists scheduled to perform on one or both nights of Freedom Sings include:

Bill LloydSteve Earle
Bobby Bare Jr.Tammy Rogers
Steppenwolf lead singer John Kay         Rodney Crowell
Tommy WomackKim Richey
Beth Nielsen ChapmanJonell Mosser
Don HenryDan Baird
Greg TrooperRadney Foster
Kevin WelchChip Taylor
Jim CounterRobbie Fulks
Aashid HimonsStone Deep

Music to be performed both nights ranges from songs censored either by government officials or radio stations to music that served as anthems for political movements and social change. Freedom Sings will be an annual event.

“In a city in which there’s considerable attention paid to chart positions, weekly sales figures and the marketing of music, we think it’s valuable once each year to step back and celebrate the fundamental freedoms that give us the right to write, sing and play music that matters,” Paulson said.

“There always are legislative and societal pressures to rein in free expression. After the tragic shooting incident in Littleton, Colo. We saw an extraordinary backlash against contemporary entertainment and culture. We hope to provide additional perspective on the importance of music to American society,” Paulson said.

“The same freedom to push societal limits that gave us Marilyn Manson also gave us Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan. Freedom Sings also illustrates the shifting tide of censorship in this country. Music that startles one generation is Muzak to the next,” he said.

Bill Lloyd also is serving as musical director for “Freedom Sings.” Lloyd is a Koch solo artist and formerly a member of the popular country duo “Foster & Lloyd.”

Amy Kurland, owner of the Bluebird Cafe, said, “The Bluebird has a 17-year history of celebrating songwriters and their ideas expressed through song. It is the songwriters whose freedom is violated when the words to their songs are censored. We’re proud to join with the First Amendment Center in saluting the importance of free expression in music.”