Sunday, October 09, 2016

Into the Texas hills and beyond

The Austin leg of our US road trip continued with a visit to a record shop, which was selling 45s for 45 cents each, and a stroll down 6th Street, the bustling hub of this music centric town. After a drink with Alan's friends in a bar on the 18th floor of the Hilton Garden Inn, where there was a good view of downtown, we had a meal at ABGB, a large and rather soul less place on the outskirts of town. Our music for the evening consisted of an hour or so of local country singer Gary P Nunn in The Broken Spoke, a honky tonk where people of all ages were waltzing. He was ok but rather dull so we moved to a pub down the road where a black covers band, Disfunction Junction, impressed.
Leaving Austin next day we headed for the Texas Hill Country, stopping off at the tiny settlement of Luckenbach. The place has a dance hall and was made famous first by the Lost Gonzo Band, whose members included Jerry Jeff Walker and Gary P Nunn, and later by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings in their hit song, written by Chips Moman. Apparently neither Waylon nor Chips had ever been to Luckenbach, which today is frequented by country music fans and bikers, mostly sporting .long beards. One such was Jimmy Lee Jones, who was gently strumming a guitar and singing on the back porch next to a sign reading Luckenbach, population 3. There are a few more people there now, but not many.
We moved on to the town of Boerne, which was thronging with people enjoying the Hill Country hot rod show, having a rather poor meal in the Boerne (rhymes with journey) Grill. No Berni Inn though. Making good time we got to the Gruene Music And Wine Festival to catch an enjoyable set by Linda Gail Lewis, supported by her daughter Annie Marie. Linda ran through a selection of Jerry Lee and Elvis numbers, thumping the piano with her customary enthusiasm, while Annie showed off her talent on numbers including Will You Love Me Tomorrow and Should I Ever Love Again, originally by Winona Carr. The festival is a laid back affair and the entrance fee includes five small glasses of wine. After Linda a Southern rock band called the South Austin Moonlighters played while we consumed wine and beer. We had a look at Gruene Hall, the oldest continually operated dance hall in Texas, where another band was just finishing, and then headed to our hotel in nearby New Braunfels, an area with strong German influences. After a seafood meal in McAdoos in down town New Braunfels, we went to the Phoenix Saloon, where quite a decent country rock group, the Paul Nipper Band, were playing, highlights being the aptly named Small Town Saturday Night, written by Hal Ketchum, and Living On Tulsa Time.


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