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5 Hill Country Music Venues You Have to Visit

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5 Hill Country Music Venues You Have to Visit

The Texas Hill Country Austin is home to music venues featuring everything from rock and rockabilly to jazz and country. Here’s a list of the five venues you must visit next time you’re in the area.

1. Gruene Hall – Gruene

5 Hill Country Music Venues You Have to Visit

Photo: gruenehall.com

Gruene Hall was built in 1878 and is the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas. It regularly attracts some of the biggest names in music, including Willie Nelson, George Strait, Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, Hal Ketchum, Gregg Allman, and more recently, Loretta Lynn. Even if they don’t have live music on the schedule, you should stop by for a cold drink and look at the signed portraits of country music legends spanning over 100 years.

The 6,000 square foot dance hall was built by Heinrich D. Gruene and still has the original layout with side flaps for open air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage in the back and an outdoor garden. This historic venue is featured in numerous books, including Pat Green’s Dancehalls & Dreamers.

2. Broken Spoke – Austin

5 Hill Country Music Venues You Have to Visit

Photo: honkytonkdeluxe.com

Army veteran James White began building the Broken Spoke in September 1964, and it opened to 300 guests less than two months later. He drew inspiration from the old Austin venues like Dessau Hall, the Moosehead Tavern and the Barn on North Lamar.

In 1966, White booked one of his childhood heroes, Bob Wills. He subsequently booked other big names like Ernest Tubbs, Roy Acuff, Hank Thompson, Tex Ritter, Ray Price, Kitty Wells, Willie Nelson and George Strait. Apparently, the Red Headed Stranger still drops in for chicken fried steak.

The Broken Spoke remains an Austin tradition, despite the new condo and retail developments creeping ever closer to this iconic red building with the old oak tree out front. It is one of the last true Texas dancehalls.

3. 11th Street Cowboy Bar – Bandera

5 Hill Country Music Venues You Have to Visit
Photo: 11thstreetcowboybar.com

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