This article is part of Wide Open Country's ongoing series Back to Country, which celebrates country music venues around the U.S.
When you step into The Blue Light Live at 1806 Buddy Holly Ave, Lubbock, TX 79401, your soul will shift in the most familiar way. This hub of live music in the west Texas town holds a great deal of responsibility for the Texas Country music scene that we all know and love today.
Names like Josh Abbott, William Clark Green, Dalton Domino, Brandon Adams, Red Shahan, Wade Bowen and Flatland Cavalry all credit the music venue for helping them find their feet as songwriters and as touring acts.
When asked the simple question, "What does The Blue Light mean to you," Bowen answered:
"The Blue Light means everything to me. It's where I cut my teeth musically. Where I learned how to put a band together, put a set list together, and put a show together. I'm not sure where I'd be without them. They had patience and believed in a young group of writers and artists who they felt would succeed. I am forever grateful and in debt to that place and I'm so glad they continue the same tradition today of protecting and caring for original work."
I think he speaks for every artist who has ever stepped foot on that stage- it's where they were given a chance to grow and come into their own.
So many singer-songwriters got their start at Monday night songwriter night. The current host, Jerry Serrano, invites writers of all genres to step up and play their original songs to the crowd. There's no better place to learn artistry than on a stage in front of a live audience. Monday nights turn into a Wednesday night set, which progresses into a Friday night slot opening for someone else, which often turn into a Saturday night sold-out show.
Just as Blaine's Pub is to San Angelo or Antone's is to Austin, The Blue Light Live is to Lubbock. Sure, there are other music venues in the area, but the support and connection of The Blue Light and its artists are unparalleled.
During the pandemic, The Blue Light was closed for an extended period of time. Charlie Stout, a songwriter, photographer, long-time friend of the bar, and the designer of the infamous blue flame that hangs above the stage put together a fundraiser so the bartenders and staff could stay paid. Stout reached out to 50 artists who are lucky enough the call The Blue Light their home and asked them to submit a song for an album called Monday Night Lights. The record was 50 songwriters, 50 songs, and 50 dollars. All of the money raised from that record went towards the bar.
It really has become a family for so many Texas artists.
So please, the next time you are craving Texas music, take a trip to Buddy Holly Avenue in Lubbock and see what the buzz is all about. Enjoy a cold Lonestar, a burner shot, a daiquiri from Tom's, or just a Topo Chico and sit and really listen to who's on the blue-lit stage.
Follow their Facebook page or take a look at their website, thebluelightlive.com, to see when who's playing the stage next or the time of their next street party.