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Live At Gruene Hall

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Built in 1878, Gruene Hall is the oldest operating dancehall in Texas, and has been a mainstay venue for Jerry Jeff Walker since he moved to the state in the early 1970s. He finally recorded a live album there in December 1988, and fittingly, the venue reflects the qualities of the music. Live At Gruene Hall is intimate and hushed, as if in quiet reverence for the aged dancehall. Whoops and hollers are audible from the crowd in “Lovin’ Makes Livin’ Worthwhile,” but even that song’s spry swing is grounded in a laid-back acoustic shuffle. Meanwhile, “Woman In Texas,” “Long, Long Time” and “Man With the Big Hat” are spare and haunting and sweet. Walker’s hickory voice is at the front of the mix, as if delivering the song like a secret into the listeners’ ear. He finally cranks up the juice on “Trashy Women,” but the set’s symbolic heart is “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight”: “But when I’m real high I play rock ‘n’ roll / I play country when I’m losing control / I don’t play Chuck Berry quite as much as Id like / Now, I feel like Hank Williams tonight.” The song not only reflects the nature of Walker’s songs, but also the rooms in which he sings them.


Born: 16 March 1942 in Oneonta, NY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jerry Jeff Walker is strongly associated with the progressive ("outlaw") country scene that centered around Austin, TX, in the 1970s and included such figures as Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, the Lost Gonzo Band, Waylon Jennings, and Townes Van Zandt. Ironically, however, Walker is not a native Texan. He was born Ronald Clyde Crosby in upstate New York and recorded his first several albums while living in New York City. He didn't move to Austin until 1971, but he's remained a major...
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Live At Gruene Hall, Jerry Jeff Walker
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