Sound penetrates our body in a way no other art form does. Music itself has the power to “move you” in a very literal sense. The feeling impacts your body, making music a very intimate act. Sound embodies your being — the heartbeat, pulse and breath are natural rhythms of the body. No wonder music holds such power.
Live music brings people together through a singular experience, which can change the way we feel and what we may believe. Further, it can create a deep sense of community as we share this experience.
Jacksonville is lucky enough to have yet another great venue where you can enjoy an intimate musical experience. Music lover and local entrepreneur, Cara Burky has taken her lifelong passion for music to the next level by opening up the Blue Jay Listening Room. Initially opened as a soft launch in December, the venue stayed under the radar so she could see what kind of response it would receive. The reaction from the community was beyond what Burky could imagine and all the confirmation she needed.
“My desire to create this space is more about meeting a need in the community than fulfilling my dreams,” Burky said. “Although, it’s a very happy coincidence.” The Blue Jay Listening Room will also have beer and wine, so patrons can sit and relax, while enjoying this expressive art form.
Burky explained that she could have not pursued her idea without the inspiration and support of her family. Her entrepreneurial spirit comes from her mom. “My mom worked her butt off to make her dreams a reality. I saw her follow her dreams and my drive comes from her.”
While her mom is the foundation of her drive, her husband is the sustainer.
“My husband, Travis, is an amazing musician,” she said. “He has been my sounding board through everything. As an artist, he tells me there are two sides to the dream of being a performer – one is packing stadiums, and the other is playing in a small room full of eager ears who are hanging on your every word.”
Growing up in Jacksonville, Burky admits that music has always been an outlet for her. The more she learned about music, the more she listened to it and the more she geeked out about it. All aspects of music inspire her, lyrically and instrumentally.
Fortunately, Burky’s profession surrounds her with like-minded people, who are also passionate about music. Her local musical motivation and inspiration comes from local artists including Nicholas Williams (aka Whetherman), Mere Woodard and The Tedeschi Trucks Band.
“It’s called a listening room for a reason. The people that come in want to listen to original music, and I want to provide a space that allows music lovers to really connect with the artist or band, letting them leave inspired. That’s what it’s all about,” she said.
As locals, we know Jacksonville Beach is an amazing place to live. Burky hopes to make our community a cultural hub, and Millennials are key to this evolution. Longtime Jacksonville Beach music venue, Freebird, promoted live music for 16 years. Since its closing in January, musicians have fewer options to play live music, unless they can draw a crowd to pack the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall or St. Augustine Amphitheatre.
“Since Freebird closed, I absolutely refused to give up on providing a venue for live, original music. It’s extremely important for our community to have a place other than bars and restaurants to experience a live show,” Burky said. “Music resonates with everyone whether they like rock, country, electronic, folk or bluegrass. Music brings people together. We have so many local musical gems that need a place to share their stories. It’s a hole that needs to be filled.”
Burky aims to expand people’s musical knowledge, and show them how much local talent we have in the 904. The new location for the Blue Jay Listening Room will be announced later this year, as plans for it to open are this winter. Until then, visit her website www.bluejayjax.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates.