Austin has a new son, Johnny McGowan, and he is blazing a trail across the Hill Country faster than a prairie fire. Hailing from the Smoky Mountains of Knoxville Tn, Johnny was baptized on moonshine and reared in honky tonks. “Mom told me when Dad took his teeth out at Lightnin’s Tavern,” he recalls, “brother you’d better back the hell up.”
Although his natural father left at a young age, Johnny’s truck driving step-father took up the steering wheel, showing him how to play his vintage Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar. “I would ask Robert (step-father) to let me pick guitar just a few minutes more,” he recalls, “so I’d get out of mowing the lawn. Ha! He knew my trick but let me anyway.”
With his boots firmly on Texas soil, his newest group Johnny & The Rugged Gents has all the authenticity you’d expect from a twenty seven year veteran. Honest vocals paired with haunting guitar work bring songs of heartbreak and loss to life; allowing his truck driving, hillbilly roots to shine through.
Whether wielding his beloved ‘El Charro‘ telecaster rescued from a stage fire or his vintage Silvertone archtop named ‘Betsy’, expect nothing less from Johnny McGowan than face-melting, seat-moistening, big-rig style honky tonk that will keep people’s boots a two-steppin’ and hands a knee-slappin’.
“It took me a lifetime to get to Texas, but by God I made it!”
In 1892, when Albert and Minnie Luckenbach sold their store in Luckenbach and moved 20 miles east to Martinsburg, the little town of Martinsburg was renamed “Albert”. The first local school was established in 1891, and in 1897, then Postmaster Otto Schumann opened the town’s first general store. By 1900, a new school building was erected that the young LBJ would attend.
The Albert Dance Hall was built in 1922 by Max Beckman, and provided the community a place for Saturday night dances and social gatherings. It featured German brass bands rotating between the Luckenbach, Hye and Weinheimer Dance Halls of the time.
Located just south of Highway 290, halfway between Fredericksburg and Johnson City, the tradition of community gatherings and dancing continues. We’re always happy to see familiar faces or make a new friend, so stop on by and enjoy a little taste of Texas tradition and a cold beer or cocktail while you’re at it. We’ve got live music most nights and our Icehouse and food truck, Bokita Gourmet Street Food; are both open everyday!
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