I need a nap. Stayed up way, way too late last night to hang out with Mike Reid. You know, Mike Reid, the former NLF All-Pro football player turned country music songwriter? Yeah, that Mike Reid. He and I were hangin’ last night at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.

OK, so Mike didn’t know he was hangin’ with me, exactly. He thought he was hangin’ with his songwriting pals, Marc Beeson, Keith Stegall and David Vincent Williams. Just them and 100 of us, the people who had come to the Bluebird to hear these guys perform the songs they have written. But it feels so much more intimate, like we were eavesdropping on a conversation about the art, fun and heartbreak of living life as a songwriter interspersed with heartfelt renditions of songs they had written.

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical when we first pulled into the parking lot of a not-so-attractive strip mall (are there any attractive ones?) on Hillsboro Pike in Nashville. It did not look like the sort of place one goes for such a special experience. But our hosts, the Gaylord Opryland hotel people, hadn’t steered us wrong yet, so the group of journalists piled out of the van and into the line.

Inside was a tiny space with 100 chairs crammed inside, all turned to face the four guys sitting in the middle. Three minutes later, the magic started with Beeson started to play. We were tired when we arrived, stuffed with amazing food from Monell’s, an amazing family style restaurant we chowed on fried chicken, fired catfish, bbq pork and 12 or 14 sides (I lost count along the way). But that trip to the Bluebird was oh so worth losing a little sleep.

Tonight, we’re off to the Grand Ole Opry and Carrie Underwood. I’m sure she’ll be good, but I don’t know if she can beat Mike, Marc, Keth and David.