Ned Abernathy Named Tennessee Songwriters Week Finalist At Songbirds

Finalists Win Performance At Legendary Bluebird Cafe

  • Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Finalist Ned Abernathy at Songbirds
Finalist Ned Abernathy at Songbirds

One of seven Tennessee Songwriters Week finalists impressed the crowd on stage at Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum in Chattanooga Tuesday night announced the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Ned Abernathy competed against 10 other songwriters to win the showcase with his original song “Tennessee and You.” Six other showcase events are taking place across Tennessee this week, including at The Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, Lafayette’s Music Room in Memphis, Ole Red in Gatlinburg, The Down Home in Johnson City, Temple Theatre in Portland, and The Franklin Theatre in Franklin.

Abernathy advanced from the qualifying round at Puckett’s Restaurant in Chattanooga. Raised in small town Georgia, Abernathy made the move to Nashville in 2022 to pursue his music dreams, following a busy few years in college, honing his craft by playing live at bars, events and house parties. He currently splits his time between Nashville and Chattanooga. The showcase, presented by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Chattanooga Tourism, is promoted as an opportunity to “celebrate the craft that put Tennessee on the map: songwriting.”

Donna Elle Harrison served as emcee for the evening. “Every song starts with an amazing songwriter and Chattanooga has a diverse group of talented creatives that are a part of our city’s culture,” said Ms. Harrison, director of Cultural Tourism and Inclusive Marketing for Chattanooga Tourism Co. “From intimate venues, to live stages on our riverfront, each performer brings something special to our city and that is what makes us the welcoming Chattanooga.”

Each of the seven finalists earn the opportunity to perform at The Bluebird Cafe during a private event in March with music industry professionals, a branded commemorative Taylor guitar, two-night stay in Nashville, $100 gift card for travel and one-year membership to Nashville Songwriters Association International. Songwriters performed at qualifying rounds in February at more than 50 venues, museums, attractions and cafes including Puckett's Restaurant, WanderLinger Brewing, and Gate 11 Distillery to advance to the showcase events.

Judges included Stratton Tingle with SoundCorps, Laura Bellucci with Chattanooga Tourism Co., Reed Caldwell with Songbirds Museum, and Liana Alpino representing The Bluebird Cafe. Judges considered lyric originality, performance and connection with the audience.

Through the years Chattanooga’s music scene has truly grown. Venues are continuing to open, allowing local and traveling musicians to showcase their creative work. This city’s wellspring of musical artistry is fed by a deep river of iconic performers, such as Norman Blake and Bessie Smith, and contemporaries like Grant Bias and Usher. From breweries to public spaces, to museums, to pubs and coffee shops, musicians can be discovered all around the Scenic City. Chattanooga’s current music scene is eclectic, expansive, and delightfully alive, said officials.

Home of the Chattanooga showcase, Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing transformative experiences through music. Committed to celebrating and embracing different backgrounds, Songbirds Foundation, along with its Guitars for Kids program, believes these differences create stronger people, experiences, and communities. Songbirds delivers educational programming that preserves music history and provides concrete resources for emerging artists. The showcase was the first event to take place in Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum’s new location at 206 W. Main St., which hosts concerts, private event rentals and rotating music history exhibits.

SoundCorps is dedicated to growing the music economy in the Chattanooga region. SoundCorps devotes their energies to building local music industry infrastructure and professional expertise through ongoing programs, events and initiatives. These efforts translate into increased opportunities to experience Chattanooga music. 

Previous Tennessee Songwriters Week Chattanooga showcase finalists Aaron Bucks, Katrina Barclay and Robert Lee all performed as special guests during the showcase, playing their original songs for the audience.

Helmed by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Tennessee Songwriters Week was established in 2019 to support music venues, celebrate songwriters with live performances in all genres of music, drive visitation and inspire travelers to experience the state’s music stories, history, attractions and venues. Since its inception, more than 3,500 songwriters have shared their original music across Tennessee stages during the annual celebration. 

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development partners with The Bluebird Cafe, NSAI, Taylor Guitars, music venues and local convention and visitors’ bureaus, chambers and partners across the state, all committed to make sure songwriters can share their original work onstage with other writers.

Follow the journey of these songwriters and join the fun by following @tnvacation on social media and #tnsongwritersweek.

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