Luckenbach Texas – The Center of the Universe

One of my assignments this month, for Buddy Magazine, was to read and review a new book relative to Texas and Texas Music, from Becky Crouch Patterson.

She had quite an amazing story to tell about her father, Hondo Crouch and the town he purchased in 1970. I found the book easy to read, engaging and entertaining. I laughed out loud more than once.

The infamous words of Gary P. Nunn, “You ask me what I like about Texas,” is answered between the pages of this book.

Luckenbach Texas – The Center of the Universe is not only an entertaining read but educational as well. Did you know that the first flying machine was invented in Luckenbach long before the Wright brothers took to the sky? How much do you know about the character Hondo Crouch? Was it truly by accident that the town evolved into a world-renowned landmark?

Becky Crouch Patterson, Hondo Crouch’s daughter and author of this beautiful book, manages to bring the history of Luckenbach as well as its many nuances to life with her distinct style of writing, sense of humor, and extensive knowledge of the deep-rooted history of the area.

Settled by Germans in the 1800s, it is steeped in culture and traditions which she beautifully honors.

When Hondo Crouch along with his partner, Guich Koock, bought Luckenbach for $29,000 in 1970, I don’t think he had any idea the phenomena he would create without ever seeming to intentionally do so.

As Becky recounts in the book, “at the time, they didn’t know whether the purchase was for 29, 19 or 12 acres”, but it did include an egg route that would pay $60 per month and a pickup truck.

One of my favorite parts of the book (although there were many) was the first impression of their purchase when Becky, along with her family, first walked into the building that Hondo aptly named, “Post Office-General Store-Beer Joint.”

She recalled being awe-struck by the generations of the rich history displayed in the bar and store. “Faded 1930s beer ads, fragile, dusty, everything held together by cobwebs” creates a powerful visual.

They say timing is everything and there is a certain degree of truth to that. When the Outlaw Music movement moved into full swing in the seventies, it created an entirely new breed of musicians and songwriters. Those tired of Nashville’s glossy, controlling mentality rebelled and broke away from Music Row. They found the perfect home in Luckenbach. Willie Nelson held five of his Fourth of July Picnics in Luckenbach. Jerry Jeff Walker recorded his “Viva Terlingua” album at Luckenbach. It was a mecca for hungry, creative songwriters.  

Waylon Jennings described Outlaw Music as “standing up for your own rights and your own way of doing things.”

And nothing fed that creative storm better than the laid-back atmosphere of Luckenbach, Texas.

When Chips Moman and Buddy Emmons wrote “Luckenbach, Texas,” neither of them had ever been there. And, as far as is known, never visited. But they were reaching for something that people who were caught in the rat-race of life could relate to. That was and still is, the vibe of Luckenbach.

Hondo Crouch carried a business card that described himself as an Imagineer. All who knew him loved him, but none more than Jerry Jeff Walker. His relationship with Hondo and Luckenbach defined Jerry Jeff and helped shape him into the artist he became.

Hondo was also a performer extraordinaire, poet, and had a unique sense of humor that Becky has inherited, as is obvious in her writing. More than once while reading the book, I laughed out loud.

I can’t begin to tell you everything that this book encompasses in these few short words. I can only tell you that every aspect, every turn of event and every personality that found its muse in Luckenbach left an indelible footprint that won’t be forgotten.

This line from Hondo Crouch’s poem, “The Luckenbach Moon” says it all… “We’ve been tellin’ strangers who come to Luckenbach ‘bout our Moon, But I know they won’t believe that we have such a big moon for such a small town.”  

And I don’t think Hondo was talking solely about a literal moon.

If you love everything embodied in Texas Music, history and the Outlaw Music movement, you will be enthralled by “Luckenbach – The Center of the Universe” by Becky Crouch Patterson.

So, to sum it all up, as the great Gary P. Nunn sings, “You ask me what I like about Texas … Well, if I tell you, you’re gonna be here all night long…”

This book is available for purchase on Amazon

Or directly through Becky Crouch Patterson’s Website

25 thoughts on “Luckenbach Texas – The Center of the Universe

  1. Jan- Oh my, I certainly loved this blast to my past. I’ve been there as a child in the late 70’s and early 80’s. We would take our vacations and go down to Luckenbach and all the beautiful surrounding Hill country area. I’ve got to get this book.
    Love you and I agree w/ Gary P. Nun
    It would take me all night to tell you what I like (LOVE) about TEXAS!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This was such a fun read, Tonya! I know you will enjoy it as much as I did. I hate that it is only in hardback right now and it’s expensive, but hopefully, they’ll reissue it in paperback before too long. Yes, I agree with Gary P. too! Thank you for your comment! Love you!!

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    1. Yes, for sure, Gwen! When are you coming to Killeen? We have a book festival there next weekend. Please tell your cousin about it! It’s called the Take 190 Book Festival. I’m not 100% sure, but I think John Howell is going as well! Thank you for your comment! Hugs back!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved your blog! Being a Texan I know I’d love this book! I clicked the link and it won’t be happening on my Disability check income though. As I read this blog I had visions of how I should have kept repairs done on the roof of my Grandfathers old country Texaco Store so I could have turned it into a Bar and/or Restaurant. I never would have had the money for it but I might could have gotten members of my family to invest in the beginning. The old should have, could have, would haves… When one of uncles was our local fire chief he asked me if they could burn it down as a controlled burn. My daughters, their cousins and friends couldn’t resist playing in there and it was a hazard for them so I let them burn it down. It was nostalgic to many so a lot of people gathered and watched it burn. My grandfather (step-grandfather actually) died a millionaire but lived as a pauper so I received many comments of, “your probably burning money”. If it was been Big Daddy’s (my grant father’s father) store I would have agreed because he didn’t like banks but my Grandfather kept his money in the bank earning interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Stephanie! What an awesome story. Oh, the shoulda, coulda wouldas! I guess we all have them, but if you had been able to preserve that landmark, it might have totally changed the direction of your life. Yes, I hate that the book is only in hardback as of now, but hopefully, they will eventually release it as a paperback. Thank you for your great comment! Hugs!

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    1. Lol! I think maybe it was easier to purchase a town in the seventies than it would be now. 🙂 What a thought, though. Then you could only let people live in your town who were positive and all about light and love! Actually, it could then be renamed as a commune. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Annette! I wish you the BEST day EVER!!! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. They bought the place for $29K in 1970? That’s amazing!

    This line cracked me up: “they didn’t know whether the purchase was for 29, 19 or 12 acres”, but it did include an egg route that would pay $60 per month and a pickup truck. That line alone tells me this book has to be infused with wonderful humor. I also love the term “Imagineer.”

    Excellent review, Jan. The book cover and title are exceptional as well. Best wishes to Becky!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Mae. Wouldn’t it be cool to purchase your own town? 🙂 And yes, the book is full of humor. I laughed out loud more than once. The book cover is exceptional. It was designed by two sisters, graphic artists and photographers who live in the Texas Hill Country. It is an extraordinary piece of work. Thank you for stopping by and I”m glad you enjoyed the review!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fascinating book, Jan. You describe it well and definitely piqued my interest. I’ve never heard of anyone buying a town before! And it sounds like there are some characters with a lot of character. Thanks for the intro to Becky, her father, and her book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be stunning.

        You know, I used to live near where the Wright brothers had their shop. There’s no mention of other people making flying machines first. You learn something new every day…

        Liked by 1 person

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