I reckon by now it’s no secret that I love Texas and its history, but history is more than just dates, stories and battles. It must also include the intangibles that make up the unique culture and character of a place; that which shapes and gives expression to its citizens. For Texas, that intangible is our music. Whether it be Country, Rock, or that most Texan of sounds, Rockabilly, our music has shaped and defined us since our state’s beginning, and the epicenter for Texas music is Gruene Hall.
Gruene Hall has been the place for beer, music, and dancing since 1878, and it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Most weekends will find Gruene Hall jumping to the sounds of live music, dancing, and one of my favorite pastimes, drinking beer. In recent years, the stage at Gruene Hall has been graced by the likes of: George Strait, Loretta Lynn, Leann Rimes, Chubby Checker, Roseanne Cash, and Willie Nelson.
It is Texas’ oldest dance hall, and in a hundred and forty years it has remained more or less unchanged. It has an open-air dance floor that is perfect for our hot summer nights, and when that’s not enough, the bar is always stocked with plenty of ice cold beer. While there are plenty of music venues in Texas, none offers the connection to the past or the sense of being part of something special that Gruene Hall does.
Many of the biggest names in music have played Gruene Hall on their way up the charts, and most of them still take the stage there from time to time. The love it for its intimate setting and for the history that has been made under its tin roof. Some of the hottest up-and-comers of today can be found taking the stage on any given Friday or Saturday night, continuing the tradition of making music history.
In the fast paced world we live in, where everything seems to be in a constant state of change, it’s nice to have places like Gruene Hall. There’s nothing fancy or cutting edge about the place, but it doesn’t have to be. For almost a hundred and fifty years it’s been providing what the people want; a release from the pressures of the daily routine. So, the next time you’re in the Hill Country, plan a trip to Gruene Hall, and whether you go for the music, the dancing, or just to drink a beer, take a moment to remember that you are part of a Texas tradition that has been going strong since 1878. Perhaps you’ll see a little history being made to boot, and that ain’t bad. Get out there today and enjoy all that our great state has to offer.