Tag Archives: Austin live music venues

Elmore posts my story about the Feb. 4 private Willie Nelson concert

12 Feb

Elmore Magazine | Willie Nelson and Asleep At The WheelAbout 200 very lucky country music fans were treated to a private concert by Willie Nelson, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel February 4th at the famed Broken Spoke; Thursday nights in February will never feel so hot again in Austin, Texas. The founder of Girling Home Health Care Inc. sponsored the city’s biggest private event of the year at its oldest and most beloved honky tonk. Unable to attend her own birthday party due to the onset of sudden illness, Bettie Girling, the widow of the late Robert Girling, watched the party via Skype from her bed at home across town. Nevertheless, Nelson and Benson sang “Happy Birthday” to Bettie together with all of her invited guests who also enjoyed a barbecue feast and spirited drinks. For about an hour and a half and just inches away from his audience, Nelson sang a hit parade of songs that marked more than 50 years of his professional music career, beginning with the 1961 number one hit, “Hello Walls,” followed by “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” (1975) and “On The Road Again” (1980).

The 82-year-old Red Headed Stranger closed the night with an intimate crowd sing-along on “The Party’s Over,” a song Nelson wrote and Claude Gray first recorded in 1959. All evening Benson accompanied Willie on guitar and backup vocals together with keyboard player Emily Gimble, the daughter of the late Texas Playboy Johnny Gimble. Other Asleep at the Wheel members included fiddler Katie Shore, steel player Eddie Rivers, mandolin and fiddle player Dennis Ludicker and David Sanger on drums. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his wife, Cecilia, also made a brief appearance together at the celebration, flanked by several Travis County deputies. Dozens of other local celebrities, including writer/actor/filmmaker Turk Pipkin sat on the dance floor to take photos up close and personal. Closing time came early – 10 o’clock– at the red, rustic and barn-like Broken Spoke, a 51-year-old icon that has withstood the test of time and new development along a one-mile stretch of South Lamar. Its 76-years young founders, James and Annetta White, both waved goodbye from the porch as dust settled in the Broken Spoke’s dirt parking lot and Nelson’s tour bus left for a Feb. 9 appearance in Charlotte, N.C. a.

Please also see my article as it appears on Elmore magazine’s website by following this link:

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/02/reviews/shows/willie-nelson-and-asleep-at-the-wheel

My story about the Saxon Pub posted to Austin Monthly

3 Jun

New Beginnings - Austin Monthly - June 2015 - Austin, TXSince opening a quarter century ago, the Saxon Pub has served as a launching point for some of Austin’s finest musicians, from legends like Steven Fromholz and Rusty Wier to current favorites Bob Schneider (pictured) and Hayes Carll, to name just a few. Yet the venue has outgrown its roots, says proprietor Joe Ables, who intends to open a second location in an industrial area south of Ben White Boulevard on South Congress Avenue in the next two years.

The move is like a flashback to the past: When the Saxon opened on June 8, 1990, it was situated amid vacant lots and helped establish the 78704 neighborhood as its own entertainment district. Today, Ables feels the squeeze of new construction, dicey parking and a lease that expires in 2020, so his plan is to construct a $4-$8 million two-story multi-user venue adjacent to the $120 million St. Elmo Market development in an overlooked neighborhood near St. Elmo Street and South Congress. “It would be crazy of me if I don’t explore this fantastic chance to build a larger, better Saxon Pub for fans and our music family,” he says. (Ables plans to renew the lease on the South Lamar building and turn it into something else.)

While the large-scale St. Elmo complex will have a boutique hotel, condos, a 50,000-square-foot market and 200,000 square feet of creative office space, the new Saxon will feature a restaurant and theater for concerts and film screenings. Brandon Bolin, CEO of GroundFloor Development, the investors behind St. Elmo Market, describes the music venue as “the front door for the St. Elmo project.” Fans of Bob Schneider’s Monday night residency can rest easy—he’ll still have his regular weekly gig in the new space.

Moving forward is also a time for reflection. In that spirit, a yet-to-be-titled documentary about the venue will be released later this year, says Ables, who at 62 feels excited at the prospect of finally becoming a landowner. “It’s one of those things that I ask myself, ‘do I really want to do this at this age?,’” he says. “I do. I feel pretty young; I still feel good.”

Please see my article posted on Austin Monthly at: http://www.austinmonthly.com/AM/June-2015/New-Beginnings/

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