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September 07, 2008
Summer…Part 2 Texas,

Texas…there are a lot of things I love about Texas. Most of them have been written about or displayed proudly on bumper stickers, t-shirts, and wherever else Texans think you (the rest of the world) will most likely be reminded of their greatness, so I will spare you. One place you don’t hear much of (outside of Texas) is this little town, nestled somewhere between Austin and San Antonio, and home to the oldest “dance” hall in the state, Gruene Hall. The town is Gruene, Texas. Their slogan is something to the effect of “resisting change since 1872″ or some words thereof. Obviously there have been some improvements since then. The lodge that rests on the bank of the Guadalupe is just beautiful while very rustic and simple. If you happen to get a room that faces the river you will never forget it. My favorite thing to do is to sit out there after the gig and watch the moon caress the river while drinking some wine, smoking a cigar or two. Breakfast at the mansion is always special because of the beautiful Maria and her delicious cooking. The woman lives to ensure everyone’s happiness. And she usually knows that I’ll be coming in a little late (I wonder why). Yet she never seems to mind. I try to look as pathetic as possible so as to get her to feel sorry for me. Although I have a feeling that she takes care of me because that is how she is…just lovely.
Oma’s Bier Garden is a relatively new, but wonderful improvement. Run by our friends Paul, Tracy, and Eden, the place is a perfect addition to what is already a little slice of heaven. They went out of their way to make us all feel welcome. And after both shows they opened their magical doors to let us wind down under a star-filled Texas sky…thank you. The Garden also has wine tasting in the afternoon and live music at happy hour. They even let our own Ben Graves do an impromptu set in the afternoon. It’s a great place to have lunch and hang out before or after “tubing”down the river. That’s exactly what my kids did on saturday while I napped. I know, I know. How could I let my kids go “tubing” without me being there? They’re cuban…they know how to swim.
Oh yeah…the gigs. As you can tell the gigs are always a secondary reason for going to a particular place. After all, all you have to do is work about an hour and a half or two hours and then it’s over. So you’ll play a place that has no air conditioning, the backstage smells like the men’s toilet because that is exactly what it is, people are crammed in there like a bus in Bangladesh, but somehow it ends up being one of the funnest gig on the planet. Sometimes we’ll play these beautiful theaters with wonderful facilities and yet nothing extraordinary happens. But for some reason, these shows at Gruene are always memorable and part of it is because of the fun you have when you’re not playing. My kids had so much fun they actually want to move to Gruene. Are there any schools there?
All th


Gruene with envy - 2009-09-11
Not only is that the name of my favorite store in Gruene Texas, but it is how I feel towards all the people who got to see you play "The Hall" last summer. A huge fan of yours organized a girls night out Christmas gathering this year for your show at the House of Blues in Houston. It was my first time to hear you play and am a fan for life and on your mailing list. Please come back to Gruene Hall this summer so we can hear you play at the Best and Oldest Dance Hall in Texas. I'll let you in on another secret of the area, Canyon Lake. Take the long way, up River road and it dead ends at the the bluest, coldest lake in Texas.
by Ann Locke

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