Dale Watson At The Broken Spoke

Brady Vercher | April 23rd, 2007

The Broken Spoke Brody, his girlfriend, and I went to watch Dale Watson the other night at the renowned Texas honky-tonk, The Broken Spoke, here in Austin. I don’t even know how to begin describing the place, but it’s an experience unlike any that you’d find anywhere else. The Broken Spoke proves that appearances can be deceiving since it looks as run down as a shanty in Hooverville, with the ceiling barely above six feet in some places, and its hodge podge of particle board and sheet metal that make up the walls. Despite its appearances, it’s a happenin’ place to be just about every night of the week thanks to the music. You can find artists like Bruce Robison, Dale Watson, The Derailers, along with local artists gracing it’s stage.

There aren’t many dancehalls left and The Broken Spoke is one of them. It doesn’t try to pretend to be anything else and that’s why the people come there; they want to dance. This makes the listening experience a little different since the speakers are pointed at the dance floor and picking up the vocals on the side is a little difficult. I’m a no dancin’ white fool, so jumping out there was out of the question. Besides, getting shown up by an 80 year old regular that could out-dance just about anyone in the building wasn’t in my plans for the night.

I marveled at how down to earth Dale Watson seemed as he interacted with the crowd, taking pictures, signing pictures, and just plain socializing. When he kicked off the music, the dance floor became packed while Watson sang country songs the way they were meant to be sung. He interacted with the crowd from the stage, taking requests, downing shots, and chatting it up. He covered songs like “Heartaches By The Numbers,” “Act Naturally” with James White, and one from Johnny Bush’s new album that he wrote, “Tequila Teardrops,” as well as a few originals like “Honky Tonk Wizard of Oz,” “Whiskey or God,” “Honky Tonkers Don’t Cry,” and even had one about the Billy Joe Shaver shooting incident. That’s what I call turnaround time.

We left after a couple of hours, but Dale and dancers were still going strong. Dale Watson is what country music is about and he definitely knows how it should sound. When Matt asked who the Opry would induct next, I threw out Dale Watson’s name as a good candidate. It’s unlikely that he’ll get the nod, but nothing I’ve seen or heard from him would make him unworthy of such an honor. Other links to check out are Brody’s review of his latest album, From The Cradle To The Grave, and this short video detailing Dale Watson’s career on Twang Nation.

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  1. [...] Hudgins, from Lucas Hudgins and the First Cousins, left a comment letting us know that they’ll be releasing a new album in July. In the mean time, if you enjoy [...]
  1. Brody Vercher
    April 23, 2007 at 8:23 am

    The Billy Joe Shaver one got a pretty good rise out of the crowd. I’m not positive about the song title, but I’m willing to bet it was “Where Do You Want It.”

    It went something like “Where do you want the pain / I’ll take my best aim / Billy asked ‘Where do you want it?’”

    But don’t quote me on that.

  2. Baron Lane
    April 23, 2007 at 9:15 am

    This Brady/Brody thing is going to be an issue.

  3. Matt C.
    April 23, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Dale is hosting the Midnite Jamboree here in Nashville in a few weeks. I’m hoping to get out and see him. However, Brady, I think that’s as close to the Opry as he’ll get. I doubt they’ll go for the whole “Ameripolitan” thing.

  4. Brady Vercher
    April 23, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Yeah, I mentioned something about the Ameripolitan thing in my last comment. It’s too bad, though.

  5. Ron W.
    April 25, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    The Broken Spoke is quite a place. I saw Don Walser and his band a few years ago, before his health went south. He kept the dance floor filled all night, and he was quick to take requests, like Eddy Arnold’s “I’ll Hold You in My Heart.”

  6. Brody Vercher
    April 26, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Nice story Ron. I’m glad the Spoke has some younger talent (like Bruce Robison and Lucas Hudgins) playing right now to help continue it’s legacy when the older artists aren’t able to play anymore.

  7. Lucas Hudgins
    May 11, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    The Spoke truly is the last real Dance Hall Gig in the Austin area, without it I don’t know if we’d play much around here and have folks who appreciate things like a Ray Price or Faron Young tune…etc.

    we’ll be back out there Tuesday May 22nd, so please spread the word that there’s still True Texas Music and venues around allowing the music to be heard the way its supposed to be (out on the dance floor).

  8. Brody Vercher
    May 11, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Lucas – Even the places that claim to be some of the oldest Dance Halls (ie: Gruene Hall) don’t have dancing, so it is nice to have a place like The Spoke still around…even if I can’t dance.

    BTW, I see that The Moonhangers are coming out with a new album, do you guys have any plans to begin work on a new one of your own anytime soon?

  9. Lucas Hudgins
    May 20, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    We just finished our first big project record, recorded at the NEST Studio in Austin, produced by Dave Biller ans Chris Miller. We are currently mixing down and should be releasing it in July.

    check out some of the early rough cuts on our Myspace page.

  10. eva smith
    July 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    i really love this page.i worked at the broken spoke when i was very young with my sister julie cardinal.i would love to hear from someone there.my phone number is 770-241-2227.the broken spoke has always been my favorite place.i have a picture of my son when he was 4 yrs old and he is 42 yrs old now.i hope to visit the broken spoke again one day.thanks eva smith-728 hickory nut way-monroe,georgia,30655

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