‘Freedom Sings’ celebrates its 15th anniversary at the Bluebird Cafe

Photo by Emily Stubbs.

By Emily Stubbs
Contributing writer

Noteworthy singer-songwriters performed to a packed crowd at the legendary Bluebird Cafe Tuesday night for Freedom Sings.

Freedom Sings is an entertaining, yet educational multimedia program of the First Amendment Center and, according to its website, “features music that has been banned or censored or has sounded a call for social change.”

Its focus is to teach individuals about free expression and the First Amendment through songs. These songs range on issues from racism to politics, which have had a major impact on the world or have had the confidence to push the envelope.

Originally started at the Bluebird in 1999, Freedom Sings celebrated its 15th anniversary this year with two sold-out shows.

Janis Ian, Jonell Mosser and Brian Wright were just a few of the artists who performed at the event. Songs ranged from Joni Michell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”—which has been covered numerous times by other artists—to Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill,” which was performed by MTSU alum Erin Enderlin.

Playing backup for the artists were a team of musicians, who accompany Freedom Sings on tour around college campuses.

“Being a part of Freedom Sings has been even more of a history lesson from what I had already known from being the age that I am,” Suzi Ragsdale, Freedom Sings veteran said. “I’ve kinda lived through a lot of these songs that were controversial and banned.”

“But just to sit now and see the whole presentation that Ken gives… I think it’s a great thing that all the new generations are being taught you know, just to keep it alive and make sure nobody ever stomps on it,” Ragsdale adds.

MTSU’s dean of Mass Communication, Ken Paulson, who serves as the president of Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, was the MC for the night, proving information about the program and the featured artists.

For more information about Freedom Sings, visit freedomsings.org.

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