Music and Austin seem synonymous, as music seems to sound from nearly every corner of the city. Local musicians play in bars, restaurants, coffee shops, even the airport. Blues, country, jazz, hip hop, you can find it all in Austin. Barry was thrilled!
Even our campground was part of the music scene. On New Years Day, they have an annual potluck where local favorites and friends came by throughout the day to play a set and enjoy some great food. The talent was amazing!
And sometimes music introduces you to a new adventure. For instance – Chicken Bingo! Curious? Just as it sounds – patrons buy tickets with a bingo square, then a well-fed chicken is placed on a board squared with numbers, and you wait for the inevitable to occur.
While waiting for the chicken to “choose” the winner, we listened to Dale Watson and his C-boys band play good downhome country music at C-boys Heart and Soul, a local dive bar. These boys have been playing together for a long time it seems and have their patter down. One great bit is that every now and then, they would stop cold, Dale would raise up their Lone Star as if on camera with a smile that you could just imagine a twinkle shining out, and to an imaginary camera, give a plug for the national beer of Texas.
Dale also holds the prizes for the Chicken Bingo winner. The winner, who automatically gets $100, has the option to keep the money or pick one of four of Dale’s pockets in hopes of adding to their gains. While one pocket had more than the $100, one also held only coins adding to less than $2.
And how could you not have fun at a bar is called, Poodie’s Roadhouse! We spent a fun night listening to good country music in a place that Willie has visited numerous times. This would be a great spot on a beautiful sunny day as the outdoor area was large and welcoming if it wasn’t January.
Barry’s work took us downtown to the Van Zandt in the heart of the Raines Street area. This renovated neighborhood is a block of fantastic restaurants, food trucks, and bars with lots of music choices. Actually, you can’t help but hear the music as it permeates the area. including reaching up to the 20th story of the hotel. At brunch on Saturday, the hotel restaurant hosted a talented blues musician, Brian Scartocci.
Of course, you can’t go to the Austin area without going to the famous Gruene Hall, home of great country music and the oldest dance hall in Texas. Built in 1878, it has been in continuous use and has hosted many of our most famous musicians and has the autographed photos to prove it. We can highly recommend getting there early to enjoy the small wonderful shops and a meal at the incredible Grist Mill.
Austin is the musical hub of Texas. When you add that to the great food, variety of bars, and outdoor activities, you have a great combination for a wonderful weekend away. And if you go during the warmer months, you can enjoy all these delights on a wide outdoor porch or patio.