Rio Brazos e h t
Story and photographs by Kelly Trammell
usic makes the good times better at the new Rio Brazos Texas Music Hall. The Rio is easy to find, located five miles from Granbury on the Glen Rose Highway 144, only 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth. It’s just a short drive through the beautiful rolling hills and oak trees of Texas. “Old time west meets funky ranch,” says owner Tracy Hartman when asked about the eclectic style displayed at the Rio. Two old trucks angling toward the air create the large front entrance to the Texas music hall. Heavy wooden front doors to the main hall have rifles as handles. You immediately feel
comfortable with the rustic setting and wrap around front porch, filled with wooden pews and chairs inviting you to enjoy the sunshine. A big round bar sits just inside the front door. A spectacular chandelier made of Jim Beam whiskey bottles, by Richard Baggett of Fort Worth, sparkles overhead. The main hall is huge with vaulted ceilings and can accommodate 500 people. Families and people of all ages fill the chairs and tables. Several guests carry barbecue plates from the buffet to their table and eat while listening to the music. People are friendly and acknowledge you with a smile. Young children play while couples two-step across the dance floor. No matter where you sit, you can see the
large stage and hear the rich sounds of the music. Rio Brazos offers the perfect setting to hear live music, dance, relax, enjoy a full bar, and Texas smoked barbecue. For at least 10 years, owners Jim and Tracy Hartman have hosted New Year’s parties with live music at their home in Granbury. They saw a “void in entertainment” in this area. “Jim and I are both huge music lovers, in particular of Country and Texas Red Dirt music,” Hartman said.
“old time west meets funky
ranch” Built on 35 acres, Rio Brazos hosts winter concerts in a 15,000 square foot heated tent that will hold 2,000 people. In warmer weather, there is an outdoor stage area that will hold 10,000 people. The next phase will include an R.V. park and resort on part of the property. Owner Tracy Hartman said, “We like to say that Rio Brazos is Texas’ newest-oldest dance hall, due to its rustic feel with modern amenities.” There are hundreds of Texas dance halls across the state today. Centuries ago, there were thousands, according to Texas Preservation, Inc. In the 1800s, German and Czech immigrants built a number of Texas dance halls for meeting places to preserve their heritage.
A magazine for the Cross Timbers region of Texas