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