A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went to visit our friends in New Braunfels, a town near San Antonio, Texas. The next town over, Gruene, (pronounced, for some unexplainable reason, as Green) is a well-known tourist spot and home to Gruene Hall, built in 1878 and the oldest continually running dance hall in Texas. Many famous musicians have made their start at Gruene Hall and often come back frequently to relax and entertain.
The night we were there, Jerry Jeff Walker was in the house. Walker, commonly referred to as Jerry Jeff, is an American country singer and songwriter. He’s probably most famous for writing the song “Mr. Bojangles” but he is well known for his story songs, and has been producing music and albums regularly since 1967.
We came late to the sold-out party so we weren’t able to purchase tickets. Gruene Hall has one side that has large open windows, so you can hang out on the grass and listen pretty well. Unfortunately, there was a police officer there running off those who didn’t have tickets, so we walked back and forth along the block, listening to a few of the songs. I was surprised that not only did I know all the songs, I remembered most of the lyrics and found myself singing along to them. I guess I hadn’t realized how formative Jerry Jeff’s music was to my own musical history until that moment. I listened to him a lot in college and then afterwards for several years until other musicians took his place and squeezed his CDs to the back of the cupboard. But some of his iconic songs have stuck in my head over the years. I can’t get on the 405 in Los Angeles without having the lyrics to LA Freeway run through my head and it will often circle around through an entire Los Angeles visit.