Tag Archives: author Donna Marie Miller

Craig Hillis at Southwestern Historical Quarterly reviewed my book

16 Oct

The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk. By Donna Marie Miller.
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2017. Pp. 256. Illustrations,
notes bibliography, index.)

Donna Marie Miller has written a very good and essential book. It is a
story of a native Austin family, the bar and restaurant business that patriarch
James White opened in 1964, and the countless characters both on
and off the stage who have populated this legendary honky-tonk for more
than half a century.
It is a good book because it is well researched, well organized, and well
written. Over a twenty-seven month period, Miller collected more than
one hundred oral histories from the White family and from employees,
patrons, and musicians and their representatives, thereby creating a valuable
trove of primary source data. She carefully explored the main currents
of Texas cultural history and Austin music history. Additionally, she
sought out films, videos, and audio recordings that were relevant to her
story.
Miller organized the book in seven sections, delineated by decades, and
within each section she wove together three dominant themes she calls
“braids.” The first covers local, state, and national events as they affected
the evolution of the Broken Spoke and the growth of the Austin music
scene. The “center thread” (11) depicts the life and times of the White
family, and the third braid presents the cast of characters—employees,
patrons, dancers, musicians—and their role in the story. This “braided
narrative structure” (11) enables the reader to experience the interplay
of the three story lines in a common historical setting.
Miller writes in an accessible and direct journalistic style. Her comprehensive
research is evident through her command of the material and
her free-flowing narrative. She sprinkles enough spice and lighthearted
anecdotes through the story to hold the reader’s interest and keep the
pages turning.
The Broken Spoke is an essential book because it analyzes a live music
venue, and in Texas, especially in Austin, the live music venue is the essential
cog in the wheel of our vibrant music scene. Whether a small folk club,
a rock ‘n’ roll joint, a multi-thousand seat concert hall, or a venerable
honky-tonk, these locations provide the economic bedrock upon which all
other aspects of the music scene unfold: the paychecks to musicians that
in turn underwrite managers, agents, music publishers, producers, studio
engineers, and related audio and video projects. Live music revenues
translate into musical instrument sales, advertising produced by copywriters,
graphic artists, and printing companies, and countless other commercial
enterprises that account for Austin’s multi-million dollar annual
entertainment and tourism industry. Miller successfully portrays how the
activities of the White family, the personnel and patrons at the club, and
an endless stream of musicians come together to facilitate the role that
the “Spoke” plays in the local and national music community.
Miller’s book calls the Broken Spoke “Austin’s Legendary Honky-
Tonk,” a bar, a restaurant, a “real country joint” (4), and “the last of the
true Texas dance halls” (6). It is also a home away from home for some
of country music’s biggest stars, a showcase for up and coming acts, a
blue-collar country club, an after-hours conference room for Texas legislators,
a country dance studio, a community center, and a country music
museum.
Most importantly, The Broken Spoke is a quintessential American story.
It is an authentic Norman Rockwell-like portrait of a strong, dedicated
family whose work ethic, commitment to each other, and shared vision
are now fueling a third generation. Having survived and thrived in an
extremely tough business, the Whites have nurtured a Texas tradition. The
Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk is an essential companion to
any student or enthusiast of Texas music and cultural history.
Austin, Texas Craig Hillis

Gallery

Rotary Club of Austin book talk Aug. 14, 2018

16 Aug

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Gallery

My SXSW 2018 presentation and book signing 3.13.2018

28 Mar

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Waterloo Records book signing Nov. 6, 2017

2 Jan

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Gallery

Texas Book Festival Nov. 4, 2017

2 Jan

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I’ll be speaking at the Texas Book Festival

23 Oct

DMMiller book cover for launch 4-22-2017Please come out to the Texas Book Festival to hear me speak on a panel inside the Texas Tent located near the 700 block of S. Congress in Austin at 11 a.m. Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. Cari Clark will moderate. Here’s the LINK:

http://www.texasbookfestival.org/festival-schedule/?selected_day=2&view=accordion 

“The Good Old Sound Of Austin” panel
Location: inside the Texas Tent, near 700 S. Congress
Followed by book signing: inside the Main Book Signing Tent (approximately at Congress near 10th Street)
Adult biography/historical genre

Authors:
Donna Marie Miller
Jesse Sublett
Eddie Wilson
BOOKS ABOUT TEXAS MUSIC
11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
How did a sleepy college town and state capital become known as the Live Music Capital of the World? In 1964, James White was searching for the best place for a big country western dance hall where his hero Bob Wills could play. In the summer of 1970, Eddie O. Wilson searched for a music hall where hippies could go to dig psychedelic art, culture and music. The results of their search: The Broken Spoke and Armadillo World Headquarters. Legendary musician and author Jesse Sublett and co-author Eddie Wilson (Armadillo World Headquarters: A Memoir) sit down with James White, owner of the Broken Spoke, and author Donna Marie Miller (The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk) to talk about the history and evolution of Austin’s live music scene.

Moderator: Cari Clark

Donna Marie Miller, author of The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, published by TAMU Press; Jesse Sublett, co-author of Armadillo World Headquarters: A Memoir by Eddie Wilson

 

 

My book launch party April 22, 2017

10 Feb

Texas A&M Un3rdcoverrevisionmiller_jkt5-2iversity Press and I launched my book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, Saturday April 22 at the Broken Spoke, 3201 South Lamar Blvd.  Book signings were provided by James and Annetta White and myself.

Ben Rogers played for tips in the dining room from 6 to 8 p.m. Terri White offered dance lessons in the dance hall at 8 p.m. for $8 per person. Afterwards, Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys performed in the dance hall  for an additional $12 per person cover charge. 

Order books at: http://www.tamupress.com/product/Broken-Spoke,8735.aspx

 

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