Blue Jay Listening Room held a soft opening event Aug. 12 in Jacksonville Beach with a night of drinks, stories and live music by country artist Kyle Jennings.
The evening began with an emotional speech delivered by owner Cara Burky, who thanked friends, family members, donors and contributors who helped prepare the venue for its soft opening. She also said the listening room got its name from her late grandmother.
"In 1999, my grandmother suddenly passed away," Burky said. “She was the rock, the matriarch, the foundation. She was the most beautiful, well-spoken, well-dressed woman I've ever seen. When she passed away, we had her funeral service in Leesburg, Florida.”
At the service, Burky said, a blue jay flew out of an oak tree and “danced and danced” around on two separate occasions before flying back into the tree above her grandmother’s casket. Since that day, Burky always thought of her grandmother as a blue jay.
“So that is why this is called Blue Jay Listening Room,” Burky said. “She is here, she is an inspiration, so I hope you all leave a little inspired today as well."
Kyle Jennings, who performed for nearly two hours at the venue while telling short road stories in between songs, complimented Burky for her work and “great style” after taking the stage to start the evening.
“Look at this place,” he said. “This is the coolest room I’ve played in; there’s no question about it. This small intimate vibe is as cool as it gets.”
Although Jennings is primarily known for country music, he borrowed elements of folk, rock and blues throughout the evening.
Midway through the event, Burky stated with confidence that the soft opening of Blue Jay was a success and customers felt the listening room was exactly what the Jacksonville Beach area needed. Additionally, Burky revealed Saturday’s event was the culmination of two years of hard work.
“Work, blood, sweat, tears, lots of tears,” she said. “But all worth it…I’ve been waiting for this night for two years.”
Blue Jay Listening Room is located at 2457A S. 3rd St. The venue is described on its official website as a “beautifully sacred, intimate space” that allows visitors to come listen and expand their musical knowledge and “share in an experience” attendees will never forget. Blue Jay’s grand opening featuring touring musician Randall Bramblett will take place Aug. 18 from 8 to 11 p.m.