March 22, 2009

Ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain


Six miles east of Fredericksburg on highway 290, turn south onto FM 1376. Go four miles. Off FM 1376 to your right at the South Grape Creek Bridge. Luckenbach.

After breakfast at the Moonshine of green chile & cheese grits, I left the loud and wonderful music mecca of Austin this afternoon and we pulled onto the highway in a dusty red Jeep. Our destination tonight was Luckenbach, Texas. I told some Texans that I was heading there on the drive home and they looked at me with some confusion, but as my friend succinctly stated it in the golden Texas sunlight, “What Haight-Ashbury is to rock music, Luckenbach is to country.”

On the road, after listening to the Waylon Jennings classic about our destination, we put this story on the stereo:

The Story of The Ballad of The Devil’s Backbone Tavern – Todd Snider

The Ballad of The Devil’s Backbone Tavern – Todd Snider

We pulled off the asphalt and bumped onto a dusty road curving gracefully towards some small buildings, an old general store and a dance hall. I saw a longhorn steer and evermore folks in cowboy hats. An older man tipped his hat at me as I walked by, and we got some cold longnecks from the outdoor bar. I wandered into the general store to look at the yellowing prints on the wall.


Following the sound of rising harmonies caught on the breeze, we went and sat beside a circle of musicians on tree-stump stools in the dappled sun. Under the live oak trees, the music ebbed and flowed between them as they sang sweet songs of the South and of the rivers and of love lost. The circle was fluid as folks would join and leave the circle, walking over to get a cold Lone Star or scratch the dog, coming back to pick up their well-worn instrument. There was an air of eager anticipation as one musician would pluck and strum their way into a new song, the others watching intently, nodding and then figuring out the melody to join in with their own contribution.

Punctuated by encouraging calls of, “Tell us all about it!” and “Yeah you do,” they took their mandolins and guitars, their banjos and gut buckets and just made sublime music in the Sunday twilight.



I want to start a music festival there. We’ll get the Avetts to headline, we’ll bring a bunch of great indie bands who know their roots, and we’ll two-step til sunrise. I learned how to two-step today under the globe lights, as the sun set. Let’s go to Luckenbach, Texas.

Today was a good day.



[all pics here]


  • I always wanted to visit luckenback- especially after hearing snider’s story…i am not sure about the festival there…would the place get ruined? sometimes out-of-the way and lonesome should stay that way.

    heath — March 23, 2009 @ 5:21 am

  • A festival in Luckenbach, Tx would be great. Let me know if you ever get it happening!

    Hatley — March 23, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

  • Heather, I usually read your blog on my Google reader, but today I had to come here and comment. This was a beautiful post.

    Nick — March 24, 2009 @ 7:29 am

  • Willie used to have his 4th of July Picnic in Luckenbach every year and 10,000+ would show up. Luckenbach can handle a music festival. Glad my musical leader could come down to my home state and visit one of our musical meccas. Next time go to Gruene, TX and catch a show at Gruene Hall.

    ET — March 26, 2009 @ 7:52 am

  • wow, so great! thank you for the story and the songs, Heather. I’m listening to Todd Snider right now at work and had to thank you for introducing me to yet another great artist. I think I’m gonna have to get all his stuff now.
    THX again, so much. great stuff.

    erik — March 26, 2009 @ 8:02 am

  • I’ve been reading your posts regularly for a long time now – this one was particularly insightful and thought provoking. Thanks.

    Aaron — March 26, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

  • I totally agree. As a northern boy, I took my texas-born wife to Fredricksburg and stumbled on Luckenbach. Always liked the song…so we stopped and got one or two of the famous T-shirts.
    Have a neice in Wimberley who went there a few years ago whem Willie was playin’. She hated it when there were so many people there.

    Mark Johnson — June 1, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  • Oh yeah, we’ve been to Gruene hall many times.Great place too.

    Mark Johnson — June 1, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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