AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s famed Broken Spoke dance hall has welcomed visitors like George Strait and Dolly Parton over the years, but for the last 50 of them, it’s been home to Alvin Crow, his fiddle and his band.
The Broken Spoke will celebrate Crow’s five decades of honky-tonk with a boot-scootin’ bash next Saturday.
“I first played at the Broken Spoke in 1972,” said Crow. “We’ve estimated the times that I’ve taken the stage, and it’s somewhere over 15 hundred — which is quite a bit,” he said with a chuckle.
KXAN joined the band leader as he looked back on his career, chronicled in photos hanging from the venue’s wall.
Crow said he and the late James White, the beloved owner and founder of the Broken Spoke, became good friends over the years, bonding over their shared taste in country music artists.
“When we came together in this place, it was an excellent fit, musically and personally,” Crow said.
He remains friends with White’s wife Annetta, who now runs the Broken Spoke with family.
“We are just very lucky to have a musician as talented as Alvin,” she told KXAN.
It’s been nearly 60 years since the dance hall first opened its doors along S. Lamar Boulevard. Now sandwiched in between two modern apartment complexes, Crow said the Broken Spoke, for the most part, remains the way it always was, a taste of the “old Austin.”
“Not a whole lot has changed,” he said. “We have air conditioning now, and the bar’s a little bit bigger. We have lots of tourists in here now.”
“[The tourists] come here, and they say, ‘This is what I wanted to see when I came to Texas,'” Annetta added. ‘You don’t see boots in Austin anymore, except here.”
“When they leave, they say, ‘I had the best time ever, and I’m coming back!'” she said.
“I want to keep them on the dance floor,” Crow said. “I want to keep them happy.”