The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

Texas Music Cafe Begins Taping at New Venue

Blackbird Sing resumes old traditions

1 week ago

By Hank Holland

For just shy of three decades, the Texas Music Cafe has been a staple of Waco culture, preserving acts such as Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Ted Nugent and countless others through intimate concerts that are recorded live. Despite its small appearance, the Texas Music Cafe has one of the largest archives of music of every style in the state. Earlier this year, financial problems and the growth of Downtown Waco forced the cafe to leave the Washington Ave. location, but the tradition of hosting both bona fide and unheard artists from all across Texas still persists in their new and expanded downtown venue.

The first Friday of June marked their debut live YouTube taping in their new location at 110 S Sixth St., featuring the San Antonio band Blackbird Sing in a syndicated broadcast. The band of life-long friends and relatives performed their hybrid mix of yacht-rock, country and Americana (lovingly dubbed “Texicana”) to a welcoming audience, alongside a statuette of a naked monkey in a cowboy hat. All in all, it was a night of good times to all who came. However, the question stands: How does the new venue compare?

The layout features an open stage, an extended bar and no awkward seats. The staff were also welcoming and seemed just as excited to be opening up the Cafe to Wacoans. Patrons were even treated to two free drinks!

The Texas Music Cafe’s Sixth St. address might have just opened, but their new home already packs an atmosphere that comes with nearly 30 years of live music. When walking in, the haze inside the building gives you the feeling of enjoying live music in the middle of Downtown Waco, as well as a sense of music history that is unique to the Cafe. The rustic wood interior with neon lights are reminiscent of a Gruene Hall right in the middle of downtown (as long as you save the dancing for after the filming).

The sound inside of the venue was also excellent, and the band had no trouble showing off each of their musical talents, regaling the audience with stories of life on the road and how the group came to be. Each member brought their own musical prowess, and those in the audience got to enjoy what each had to offer, from Tex-Mex-infused vocals, punk-influenced guitar riffs and ripping sax solos.

All in all, Texas Music Cafe’s new venue offers a decidedly more intimate experience with live music when compared to other music venues in Waco. Most other places offer music as a backdrop to the usual restaurant or bar. However, the new and improved Texas Music Cafe offers the opposite side of that coin and captures the energy of concerts similar to Austin City Limits.

With so many live music venues in the city, Texas Music Cafe continues to stand out with its tradition of broadcasting acts. Be sure to catch an upcoming performance at the Texas Music Cafe, with bands such as Sundae Drivers and Christian Shields. For more information on the Texas Music Cafe, visit their website here.