Taylor 76574 Magazine – Summer 2018

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_________ Taylor _________

76574 SUMMER s 2018

LIVE MUSIC Has East WilCo become the live music Mecca for Central Texas? TWICE TOLD TALES The Circleville Philosopher was once carried in newspapers all over the country.

BY THE NUMBERS WOW! Last year's Stomp'n'Holler brought in people from 99 cities (other than Taylor), 14 states and two countries.

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Summer 2018 3


Taylor 76574

_________Taylor _________

76574 Facebook@Taylor76574 EDITOR & PUBLISHER Richard Stone BUSINESS MANAGER Carolyn Hill SALES Scott Rucker Ann Miller PRODUCTION EDITORS Gretchen Dyson Matt Hellman DEPARTMENT EDITOR Jason Hennington ADVERTISING DESIGN Patti Slavych Minerva Kutch Orlando Rojo-Buendia OUR THANKS TO Gary Borders, Catherine Parker, Tim Crow Candice Martin of the Culinary Arts Department at Taylor High School

TAY LO R M U S I C I N H I G H COT TO N There are more singer-songwriters in downtown Taylor than BBQ joints. As Austin eats up its live music culture, East WilCo reaps the rewards.

~ PAGE 26

D E PA R T M E N T S SPRING & SUMMER CALENDAR �������������� PAGE 7 From regular weekly and monthly events to exciting live music festivals, here’s a handy planning guide.

10 QUESTIONS ������������������� PAGE 12 Kenny Ortz, a local country music artist, has a guilty secret. He's a closet fan of REO Speedwagon. But there's more ...

BY THE NUMBERS ����������������� PAGE 14 ON THE COVER Some bands need more than one guitar. — Photo by Richard Stone

Published by


your community. your newspaper.

P.O. Box 1040 • Taylor, TX 76574 For advertising information, call


It required 113 volunteers to put on last year's big Stomp'n'Holler BBQ + Music Festival. Since that's coming up, we thought we'd compile a few other interesting numbers for you.

TWICE TOLD TALES ����������������� PAGE 17 H. B. Fox, the Circleville Philosopher, was a man of routines. Those lifelong habits made him a popular country newspaper columnist.

CULINARY ADVENTURES ��������������� PAGE 22 Taylor High School’s Culinary Arts and commercial photography students deliver their take on a classic breakfast casserole.

THE DABBLING DUCK ���������������� PAGE 34 Did the recent city elections leave you dazed and confused? Let the Dabbling Duck set you straight. — Photos by Richard Stone

Summer 2018 5




69th Annual Taylor Rodeo • Wilco Expo Center 5350 Bill Pickett Trail • Taylor, TX 76574 A Bo Davis Production, CPRA/Open Sanctioned Event Barrel Man: Chris Hammack

FRIDAY & SATURDAY JULY 20 & 21 SLACK THURSDAY JULY 19 Gates open at 6:00 p.m. Opening Performance at 7:40 p.m. The Rodeo starts at 8:00 p.m. with Live Music following

DANCING AFTER DARK Friday Night The Original Debonaires 10:00PM to Midnight Saturday Night Kenny Orts Band 10:00PM to 1:00AM

OTHER EVENTS Kids and Adult Calf Scrambles Mutton Bustin’ Wild Steer Saddling


• The Real Texas Gun Show • Go Fast Races Trainer Time • Go Fast Races

JULY • • • • •

Go Fast Races Go Fast Races Trainer Time CTHJA Summer Circuit I 69th Annual Taylor Rodeo CTHJA Summer Circuit II

AUGUST • CTHJA Summer Circuit III • The Real Texas Gun Show • Go Fast Races Events are

subject to c


Children under 6 are FREE Ages 6 to 12 $10 Advance / $12 Gate Adults $12 Advance / $15 Gate Parking – $5 $5 Military Discount w/ Military ID at Ticket Booth Only Price includes Admission to Both Rodeo & Dance



Call Ronnie Harrison (512) 460-9923 Or Bobby Copeland (512) 786-7545

Event details available at www.wilcoexpo.com


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If you would like to see your non-profit community event or regular meeting listed in this calendar, please send it to Taylor76574 Calendar, P.O. Box 1040, Taylor, TX 76574 or email to news@taylorpress.net.

Second Saturday

Join us on the second Saturday of the month for events in our parks and all over town. Specials and bargains are featured in our downtown shops and cool drinks at our “rest stops.”

Third Monday

The Greater Taylor Chamber of Commerce hosts a luncheon at Sirloin Stockade the third Monday of each month. The topics vary but usually focus on Taylor issues. Open to members and non-members.

Third Thursday

The Third Thursday of every month, our downtown shops stay open late. 120Art Gallery opens a new exhibit and music fills downtown venues.

G21 Car Show

G21 Car Show is on the fourth Sunday of every month beginning at about 8 a.m. It will be held at 3100 N. Main Street. Several different charities benefit from it throughout the year.

Pints, Politics and Culture

The Taylor Press hosts a live interview with a local newsmaker 7 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at the Texas Beer Co., corner of Main and Second, downtown. The interview is streamed live on the Press’ Facebook page (@GoTaylorTx) and then curated on its website (TaylorPress.net). This public affairs program is a great way to keep up with local issues.

Taylor Area Farmer’s Market

May through October — Local area farmers sell fresh produce at the Greater Taylor Chamber of Commerce, 1519 N. Main Street, from 3-6 p.m. every Monday and Friday.

Your government

Taylor City Council – The Taylor City Council meets the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, 6 p.m. at City Hall, 400 Porter St. Agendas are posted to the city’s website Tuesday prior. Meetings are streamed live from the city’s website. You may sign up for notifications about this and other Taylor boards and commissions on the homepage of the city’s website, ci.taylor.tx.us. Taylor School Board – Taylor school trustees meet 7 p.m. the third Monday of the month, in the board room at the central administration office, 3101 N. Main Street. Agendas are posted to the school’s website the Friday prior to the meeting.

Weekly Civic Club Meetings

Taylor Lions Club – Every Friday at Noon at Sirloin Stockade Taylor Rotary Club – Every Thursday at noon at Sirloin Stockade Taylor Kiwanis Club – Every Wednesday noon at Sirloin Stockade

Interested in local and college sports? Check out “Around the Water Cooler,” a lively and opinionated show produced by the Taylor Press. New shows every Wednesday at about 2:15 p.m. Streamed live on Facebook @GoTaylorTx.

Summer 2018 7


Taylor City Pools open May 27! — Murphy Park Aquatic Center and Robinson Pool, open for the summer.

Community Memorial Service

Join Taylor-area veterans for a moving tribute at Murphy Park Liberty Gardens, 1600 Veterans Dr.

Taylor Stomp’n’Holler BBQ+Music Festival sponsored by Covert Chevrolet This is Taylor’s signature tourism event that features a big-time car show, great live music including the Dirty River Boys opening for the Mavericks (who return to finish what they started last year) and barbecue from som of Texas’ legendary Pit Masters. Three of those Pit Masters are right here in Taylor. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Downtown. They already have a killer lineup of music and Texas Monthly Top 10 Pit Masters. Many of the pitmasters will sell to the public. Car show is open to the public. Lots of love to sponsors Covert Chevy, Shiner Beer and Valero.Concert tickets only $20 at stompnhollerfest.com. Stay up-to-date on facebook @stompnhollerfest

Movies in the Park

"Despicable Me 3," dusk at Taylor Regional Park, 210 Carlos G. Parker Blvd NW, free and family-friendly.

Taylor International BBQ Cookoff

Barbecue Bob returns to the shade of Murphy Park as area barbecue cookers compete in one of the state’s most prestigious cookoffs. Get over to the park Friday evening for a family-priced show by Kenny Ortz under the pavilion then hurry back Saturday to see which of the cookers win for showmanship, beef, chicken and pork. Watch @ TaylorBBQcookoff on Facebook for details.


Taylor 76574

Juneteenth Celebration and Bill Pickett Day

The Blackshear/O.L. Price Ex-Student Association will host the Juneteenth Celebration in Fannie Robinson Park. Friday will be a meet-and-greet. Saturday will see a gospel brunch in the morning and a pageant. Saturday evening will conclude with music under the stars.

Stiles Farm Field Day

Field Day at Stiles Farm is held every June at the 3,000-acre farm located at 5700 FM 1063 in Thrall. New and innovative farm practices are demonstrated at the historic farm operated by the Stiles Farm Foundation. Field Day has been hosted there since 1963 and attracts large groups to view demonstrations and educational exhibits. For more information, call (512) 898-2214.

Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse Pro Rodeo

Sanctioned by the Cowboy Professional Rodeo Association, this rodeo includes some of the top cowboys from all over the US and is sure to entertain. The rodeo is held annually at the Georgetown Show Barn in San Gabriel Park, 415 E. Morrow Street. Find out more at www.georgetownrodeo.com or by calling (512) 966-9778.

Taylor’s 4th of July Fireworks

This event will be held in the afternoon and evening July 4 at Murphy Park, 1600 Veterans Drive. The patriotic event brings people from all over for activities in Murphy Park. The swimming pool is open. Live music at the American Legion Hall. Food vendors. Cap the evening off with a tremendous fireworks display.

Movies in the Park

"Pete's Dragon," dusk at Taylor Regional Park, 210 Carlos G. Parker Blvd NW, free and family-friendly

Taylor Press Annual 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament

The Taylor Press hosts an annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament to fund a scholarship, given to an area high school student. A portion of the proceeds is also donated to a local non-profit organization. Age divisions for the event are 1114, 15-17 and 18 and older (anyone who has played varsity level will play in this division. For more information, call the Taylor Press at (512) 352-8535.

69th Annual Taylor Rodeo

Since 1950 Taylor Rodeo Association has proudly brought to you the Taylor Annual Rodeo in the hometown of Bill Pickett. The crowds that come to this yearly event have grown because of the enthusiasm and the excitement, but most of all for the entertainment they receive. It is one of the biggest and best smalltown rodeos anywhere. The rodeo is hosted at the Williamson County Expo Center, 210 Carlos G. Parker Blvd., NW.

Summer 2018 9

20th Annual Walter Gonzales Memorial Horseshoe and Washer Tournament

The tournament was started to help raise money for the Gonzales Foundation and different generations of the Gonzales family help host the tournament, along with volunteers from the Taylor Lions Club and the community. At Taylor SPJST Lodge, 5025 FM 619. For more information, contact Ray Gonzales at 512-801-5550.

Taylor KidFish at Bull Branch Park LATE AUGUST

Movies in the Park

"Coco," dusk at Taylor Regional Park, 210 Carlos G. Parker Blvd NW, free and family-friendly


The first game of the season — and the first game in the Duck’s new stadium — will be against Waco-Robinson.

Usually in late August. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and fishing starts at 9 a.m. Free to chuldren age 16 and under. 904 Dellinjer Dr. For more information, call 512-365-7669.





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Summer 2018 11


y n n e K Orts

Kenny Ortz will play 9 p.m. Friday, June 8 in the Murphy Park pavilion d u r i n g the Ta y l o r International BBQ Cookoff. Tickets are only $10 at the gate.

1. TELL US SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU? I served in the Texas National Guard for 6 years. I graduated Army Basic Training in 1991 and received my MOS certification to be a military helicopter engine mechanic. 2. WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO? I ask myself that all the time. It’s not because of the money that’s for sure. LOL… Playing music allows me to forget about the daily grind of life but also gives me a sense of self-worth. I want to leave my musical mark on the world. 3. WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION? That would have to be my dad. He worked for Blue Bell Creameries for over 30 years and played music collectively for over 40 years. He taught me the importance of keeping a day job but also passed on his love for playing music on the weekends. He passed away in 2016 of pancreatic cancer but loved music to the end. 4. WHO IS YOUR MUSICAL HERO? First and foremost, my dad but there are two other guys that I really admired because of their unbelievable talent and love for music. Dale Burch and Jeff Chance. 5. IF YOU HAD THREE WISHES FROM A NON-TRICKY GENIE, WHAT WOULD YOU WISH FOR? I just need one and that would be to have good health until my last day. Someone else can have my other two wishes. 6. WHAT’S BEST AND WORST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? We opened for T. Graham Brown at Coupland Dancehall years ago. He told us to keep our day jobs. Take that how you want to…. lol

7. WHAT IS YOUR FUNNIEST MOMENT ON STAGE? It wasn’t really funny to me at the time but back years ago we played at the Taylor Jaycees Rattlesnake Round Up and Darrell Espinosa would always throw a toe sack with a rattlesnake in it up on the stage at my feet. I still hate snakes but I guess it’s kind of funny looking back. 8. WHAT SONG IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? Reo Speedwagon “I Cant Fight This Feeling Anymore”. Its not country but I’d love to do a country version of this song. 9. IF YOU COULD WITNESS ANY EVENT OF THE PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Who knows about the future but I’d like to go back and hear the Eagles Live in 1970. I learned to appreciate them way too late in life. 10. MOST MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY? My 21st birthday…… I turned 21 while attending Army AIT School in Virginia. It involved beer, bowling, leaving post without the proper pass status, the Garth Brooks song “Shameless”, a mop bucket, and sneaking back onto post and into the barracks. That’s all I can divulge.


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THE CIRCLEVILLE PHILOSOPHER: A MAN OF ROUTINES The following is excerpted from “Yours Faithfully, J.A.: The Life and Writings of H.B. Fox, the Circleville Philosopher,” recently published by Gary B. Borders. Fox, who lived on a farm about a mile behind the Circleville Store, a few miles north of Taylor, wrote a

widely syndicated column for more than 50 years. He published three novels as well. Border’s biography of Fox is available at the Circleville Store, at Austin’s Book People, at garyborders.com (Click on the “Books” tab), or through Amazon.com.



Fox was a man of routines. Unlike his wife, Marie, he rose early, anywhere from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., occasionally as late as 7. As he put it in his unpublished memoir and collection of short humor pieces, Circleville, or Life in the Edge of the Woods, “There’s no set time for starting the day. I get up when I’m through sleeping… I’m not one who has to look at a clock to see if he’s through sleeping. All my cows get all the sleep they need and get up when they’re through. Not a one can tell time.”

After his children were grown, he drove to town to pick up the daily newspapers and to eat breakfast in Taylor, initially at the Blazimar Café, an all-night café inside a downtown hotel: one egg, three pieces of toast, jelly and fresh orange juice. His son, John, says the café kept running out of orange juice, so Fox bought a case each week and took it there. Then he bought a glass of orange juice back from the café every morning. He tired of that and switched to the Midget Café (as it was known at one time). A few times that establishment was late opening, so he began paying Marie to cook him breakfast – $75 a month.

Summer 2018 17

Every day, at 9 a.m. and again at 3 p.m., Fox drove to the Circleville Store a mile away and bought a Coke. He carried a small notebook in his shirt pocket on which he afterward jotted notes as other patrons discussed farming, politics, the weather and whatever else came to mind. For more than 40 years, he was a daily presence there. Every Thursday morning Fox arrived early at the smokehouse behind the main house and wrote his column, finishing before 9 a.m. In Life In The Edge of the Woods, he describes his cozy hideaway: The office is now insulated, rat-proofed, cooled in the summer by a window air-conditioner, heated in the winter by a fireplace I built myself as a bricklayer would scornfully point out. The bricks came from either an abandoned cellar or a septic tank. I prefer to think cellar. The chimney draws satisfactorily and never smokes unless the wind is out of the south, and when the wind is out of the south I don’t need a fire. You don’t have to be a lifetime Congressman to tell which way the wind is blowing. After he finished his column, he would run off copies on a mimeograph machine, and the rest of the family would stuff envelopes to be taken to the Taylor post office, five miles south. (Later, Marie would take the column to town and have

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photocopies made at a local office-supply store.) Fox clearly took delight in his office, writing: My office measures only 10x15 feet, practically every foot of it, save a five-foot-wide passageway between the door and my typewriter, is utilized. My typewriter stand is on the west wall to the right of the fireplace. Behind me, reached by swiveling around in my chair, is a rolltop desk I paid $5 for 45 years ago. On the desk with its many drawers and cubbyholes are valuable things – cardboard boxes stuffed with manuscripts, notes, books, scissors, pencils, ash tray and a 50-year-old adding machine it takes a flashlight to operate. The ribbon wore out years ago so there’s no totals printed on a roll of paper, but the figures can be seen through a glass at the bottom of the machine, if you shine a flashlight through. “When I need working space at the desk, I swivel around and pull out a sturdy flat board installed by the fore-thoughted builder of that desk. When I’m through, I slide the board back in. Regardless of the clutter on the desk, I always have a clear working space The man who thought of that board knew something about human nature.

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Summer 2018 19

After doing some work on the farm, Fox headed to the Circleville Store for his Coke, and then to the Taylor post office to mail the correspondence and bills he had received earlier that day in the family’s rural mailbox. Since the Philosopher was at one time distributed in about 150 papers, he had considerable correspondence. Methodically he opened a letter and answered it if needed, before going on to the next envelope. He paid bills immediately upon receipt, according to his son, John. His family knew not to interrupt him while he was writing — instructions that John when young once ignored, coming into the smokehouse twice in the same morning to ask his father something. John ruefully recalled he never made that mistake again. Fox’s sturdy rolling chair allowed him to swivel around and easily reach the Smith Corona “Super Speed” manual typewriter perched on a table by the opposite wall. To his right as he faced the typewriter was a large – and well-used – unabridged Webster’s dictionary. A window above the dictionary provided natural light. Above the typewriter the wooden letters “JA” were tacked to the wall. Three metal filing cabinets were crammed with manuscripts– various versions of his three published novels, plus the unpublished manuscript, paid bills, and answered correspondence. As he put it: Every Thursday morning for the last 40 years I’ve gotten to my smokehouse office extra early and by 8:30 have produced a humor column I

sell to weekly newspapers around the country, signed not by me but by the initials “J.A.” As a columnist I am widely unknown. I don’t sign my columns. It’s sort of a gentle fraud. Editors pretend the character writing the column lives on a farm near their town, and I abet the notion by occasionally leaving blanks they fill in with local names. It works. Readers in a town in North Dakota for example think somebody there writes it. They spend time trying to figure out who it is, as do people in town in Georgia or Arkansas or Rhode Island or Texas or wherever. The initials “J.A.” are meaningless now but weren’t at the start. When I wrote the first of what has turned into over 2,000 columns I prepared for somebody’s saying to me, “That’s an asinine column.” “What,” I was ready to retort, ‘do you think those initials stand for?” Nobody ever said it, and I was stuck with the signature. “J.A.” stood for jackass. Fox used “Yours Faithfully, J.A.” as the closing to his “Dear editar” letters for more than 50 years, at one time reaching 1 million readers — the vast majority of whom had no idea who he was. And that was just fine with him.

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Training tomorrow's workforce today. Your Taylor Economic Development Corporation is working with local organizations like the Taylor Chamber of Commerce, Taylor ISD and Texas State Technical College to promote and provide training for high demand, well-paying careers in the skilled trades and light industry. There are 200 jobs like this available in Taylor right now!

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Hearty g 111Breakfast 11)111Casserole 111h T 2 gh 3 2 ij 3 2 3 2 3 2 gh3 2 *+3 2 *+3 ij i44444844444j he summer season is upon us and there will be guests over for sleepovers, graduation parties, weddings and reunions. The whole house will smell like delicious crispy bacon after popping this hearty casserole into the oven. For more picky eaters, chop the peppers into long strips for easy removal and feel free to offer sour cream or salsa as a topping. This would go great with fresh orange juice or perhaps a Mimosa!

gh *+ ij


• 12 slices crispy bacon • 1/4 cup butter, melted • 3 cups croutons • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese • 6 eggs • 1 3/4 cups milk • 1 bell pepper (any color), diced • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard • salt and pepper to taste


• Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). • Melt butter in the microwave, or in a small pan on the stove over low heat. Spray a 9x12 inch baking dish with vegetable spray. Place croutons in the bottom of the dish, and drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with grated Cheddar cheese, then layer the bell peppers. • Crack the eggs into a bowl, whisking to break up the yolks. Add milk, mustard, salt, and pepper, and beat until well combined. Pour over the croutons and cheese, and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. • Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Photos of students are by photography teacher, Magdalena Zavala.

The culinary teacher is Candice Martin.


Photos of food are by student photographer, Isaiah Torres.

This feature is contributed by student chefs in the Taylor High School Culinary Arts Program. Culinary Arts is a partnership with Texas State Technical College that provides students the opportunity to earn college credits and certifications that will prepare them for successful careers after high school. In addition to contributing to the food feature of this magazine, culinary students also showcase their talents in the licensed restaurant, Top Flight, located in Taylor High School.


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for shopping, dining, relaxing SUMMER CALENDAR:

MAY 26 - Taylor City Pools open, Murphy and Robinson Parks MAY 28 - Community Memorial Service, Murphy Park Liberty Gardens, 1600 Veterans Dr. JUNE 4-JULY 28 - Summer Reading Program, Taylor Public Library, 801 Vance St. JUNE 8 - Movie in the Park, "Despicable Me 3," dusk at Taylor Regional Park, 210 Carlos G. Parker Blvd. NW, free and family-friendly JUNE 21 - Third Thursday Late Nites, Downtown Taylor (shopping and live music) JULY 4 - Community Independence Day Festival, Murphy Park, 1600 Veterans Dr., Tennis tournament, all-day activities and fireworks at dark. JULY 13 - Movie in the Park, "Pete's Dragon," dusk at Taylor Regional Park, 210 Carlos G. Parker Blvd. NW, free and family-friendly JULY 19 - Third Thursday Late Nites, Downtown Taylor (shopping and live music) AUGUST 10 - Movie in the Park, "Coco," dusk at Taylor Regional Park, 210 Carlos G. Parker Blvd. NW, free and family-friendly AUGUST 16 - Third Thursday Late Nites, Downtown Taylor (shopping and live music)

Kenny Orts in concert 9 p.m. Friday, June 8 $10 at the gate 1519 N. Main St. | www.taylorchamber.org 512-352-6364 | info@taylorchamber.org

For full information about all upcoming events in Taylor, Texas, visit TaylorMadeTexas.com or call Main Street Taylor at 512.352.3463

Summer 2018 23

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Taylor's Live Music BY CATHERINE PARKER Catherine Parker, a Texas native, loves her home state but is frequently found behind the wheel of a trusty 4x4 driving the backroads and interstates of North America. To date she and her three school-age kids have driven through the lower 48 and six Canadian provinces. When not exploring national parks, she lives in Taylor with a house full of animals. Catherine is a freelance writer, publishes a website, CarfulOfKids.com, and is frequent contributor to Family Fun magazine.


nder the cover of night and by the heartbeat of flashing street lights, a speaker tower takes over the senses. Music lovers from across eastern Williamson County hear the hum and head to a new scene that’s got Central Texas musicians talking. With a new crop of venues sprouting up across the historic corridor, Taylor’s reaping the rewards. Lately the singer-songwriters outnumber the BBQ joints in downtown on any given weekend. As Austin eats up its live music culture in favor of glass-clad condos, local bands head for the Blackland and find authentic venues with appreciative crowds.


In a recent interview in the Texas Standard, Dale Watson lamented about the obstacles pushing him and other working musicians out of Austin’s city limits. Watson recently moved his music awards, the Ameripolitian Awards, to Memphis and cited the ease of working with Memphis as a reason he moved his production. A new music genre, Watson’s Ameripolitian music blends elements of outlaw country, rockabilly, honkytonk and western swing. For close to 20 years Watson has called Austin home though he spends a portion of his time on the road as a touring musician. According to Watson the decision to pull up his roots in Austin is a lifestyle choice. Recently at the Old Cou-


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Scene is in High Cotton pland Inn and Dancehall, Watson elaborated. “I have a problem with paying $1,000 a month in taxes,” Watson said referring to his home’s tax bill in Austin. “I can move to a bigger property, escape the traffic and get a better quality of life.” Watson explained as to why he is considering Taylor as a Central Texas alternative to Austin. “The locale is great. Taylor is a little like Old Austin with a budding music scene and no traffic.” Watson continues. He is routinely critical of the difficulties that musicians face in Austin’s entertainment district. From paying for parking to the lack of unloading zones, local musicians are working harder just to unload the gear.


As antique pickers loose ground, guitar pickers gain. Taylor’s downtown drag transforms from dusty, turn-ofthe-century store fronts to an authentic entertainment destination. Each weekend a new round of regional musicians find a home for their sound. Be it swing, country, singer-songwriter or punk. Bands are finding appreciative local crowds and bringing their audiences with them. Don’t let the neon lights, vintage cars and a row of Harley’s throw you. Taylor’s downtown entertainment district means more dollars in a once vacant and deteriorating historic corridor. Sitting down with Wayne Mueller, the third generation pit master and own-

er of Louie Mueller’s BBQ, we talked about music but so much more. As a destination that attracts nearly 50-percent of its diners from outside of Central Texas, Louie Mueller’s is the face of Taylor to the outside world. I know it was for me 15 years ago when I swung open its screen door for some legendary BBQ after driving through Taylor looking at historic homes. According to Mueller, “the downtown development is a wonderful thing. It keeps people into the evening with multiple venues to support.” He went on to say, “Taylor has been struggling with an identity since cotton.” Back in 2006 Bobby Mueller, Wayne Mueller’s father, had never heard of the James Beard Foundation or its America’s Classics Award. But after buying a tux

Summer 2018 27

and accepting the award, the significance sank in. It changed his family business, made Taylor a BBQ destination and announced to the culinary world that Texas BBQ was a new American classic. An award that “recognized the nation’s beloved regional restaurants. Distinguished by their timeless appeal, they serve quality food that reflects the character of their communities,” according to the foundation. To date, Louie Mueller’s BBQ is one of only six restaurants in Texas to receive the award.


Putting BBQ and Taylor on a national stage, Mueller’s is adding live music and a full bar to its line up soon. Along with the legendary brisket, diners can catch a band on the new outdoor stage as soon as Memorial Day. Setting up for the next phase of downtown Taylor, Louie Mueller’s BBQ will offer a bar menu focusing on finger foods along with sausage and ribs, and possibly a grill. Food that can be enjoyed on its new deck or while walking Taylor’s downtown entertainment district. What I found in Louie Mueller’s BBQ is what sold me on Taylor. Authentic charm in the middle of an historic downtown and along with BBQ like my grandpa used to make. And for years Louie Mueller’s kept the downtown alive until the food ran out, most days at 3. Serving up BBQ since 1949, find Louie Mueller’s BBQ at 206 West Second Street. Open Monday through Saturday, closing at 6 p.m. though watch for later hours coming soon.


A singer-song writer to accompany your local craft brew. Since 2016, The Texas Beer Company has featured Central Texas musicians across genres to entertain its patrons. With a loyal, local draw and the regional craft brew crawlers, find a lively crowd most nights. The Texas Beer Company anchors the McCrory Timmerman Building as it celebrates two years elevating Taylor’s beer tastes along with quality entertainment.

Some come for the music, some come for their friends. Some come for a weekly dose of local news. If big news is announced in Taylor, it’s from the Texas Beer Company’s stage. According to Ian Davis, TBC co-owner, “bringing live music back to Taylor is important. It’s a community experience where regulars call in for shows.” Catch the live music most Fridays and Saturdays. Find the Texas Beer Company at 201 North Main Street, open most days until midnight and closed on Monday.


A fresh face and a new coat of paint gives this historic storefront a new life. It wasn’t that many months ago that books ruled the building. Find a space where the old pine

floors and bead board ceiling mellow the sound and give this new venue the vibe of a vintage honky-tonk. Though don’t let that make you think it’s all country and swing. The tiny, beaded light fixtures and books behind the bar appeal to the big band crowds. The speaker stack pushs the sound out the door and beckons the punk crowds, along with rock bands and singer-songwriters. Home to a variety of music genres, this is the destination for serious audiophiles. And true to its hometown vibe, live music fans bring their kids to the earlier shows. Shannon Bagent dreamed of owning a venue while she worked managing the stage at Austin City Limits. Cashing out in Austin, the dream became a reality. She gutted the building back to its bones, added lights, a sound board


Taylor 76574

With an eclectic line-up, the live music starts most nights at 9. Find Tejano or Salsa bands, along with country or blues bands. It’s also home to the monthly Monday jam sessions from the folks at the Taylor Musician’s Network (yep, it’s a thing and look it up on Facebook). The inside crowd is friendly, looking to sip a glass of wine and enjoy the entertainment. Though the outdoor patio is an undiscovered jewel of Taylor. With umbrella-clad tables and festive outdoor lights, enjoy Taylor’s downtown entertainment district in fenced-off courtyard out back. Discover the Taylor Station’s patio at 108 East Second Street. Open Thursdays through Saturdays most nights until 1 a.m.


and a pair of speaker towers. According to Bagent, “building the business organically by the grassroots is important. I believe in art.” So she even makes the posters for her events. Bagent continues, “musicians thrive at a venue that attracts appreciative local crowds with a genuine love of music. Find Black Sparrow Music Parlor at 113 West Second Street. Open Thursdays through Sundays, most nights until midnight.


There’s one thing you can’t ignore in Taylor and that’s the trains, especially in the middle of the night. And Taylor Station uses the trains as a design clue with a bar that looks like a box car, train signs throughout and even a train schedule on the front of the building.

The newest venue to open on Second Street, Drink Taylor offers late night hours and the largest area for dancing. With different themed nights the music starts up Wednesdays with a combination of bands and DJs. The owner of Drink Taylor, Tarek Boubol, has dreamed of opening a venue for years. According to Boubol, a realtor by day, “the demographics in Taylor are good for opening new businesses.” He wants to expand his venue to offer a menu of sandwiches and a full bar soon. Find Drink Taylor at 115 West Second Street. Open Wednesdays through Saturdays until 2 a.m. on the weekends. And it’s 21 and older after 10 p.m.


Catch live music at the Taylor tasting room of the Pilot Knob Vineyard. Where the live music compliments a glass from Bertram Texas winery. Catch singer-song writers acts along with regular Jo Ellen, who pairs old standards with the sweet rosé. Find Pilot Knob Vineyard at 203 North Main Street in the McCrory Timmerman Building. Live music several times a month, usually on Saturdays.


Don’t forget about the western edge of Taylor, The IceHouse Kitchen & Tavern, or Randy’s, occasionally hosts live

DAVONTE’S ADDS TO LOCAL FLAVOR BY QUINCY GRIFFIN DaVonte's has been on the scene in Taylor for about a decade. The brainchild and hard work of the late Taylor legend Willie Fields, DaVonte's has been a social hub for all people in the Taylor community. On any given night at DaVontes, you could hear hip-hop, R&B, jazz, blues/southern soul, Cumbia/Tejano, and country all in one night. When you talk about live shows, DaVontes has hosted some of the best blues and southern soul R&B in Central Texas. From the late Big Cynthia to the Louisiana legend Kenne Wayne, to live open mic hiphop and R&B shows, and the best Karaoke selection in town. DaVontes has been a popular place for entertainment in the Taylor community. House DJ's, DJ QNation (Quincy Griffin), the legend DJ Lady Lafon (Bridgette Wilson), and the old school master DJ Stump (Gerald Jones) have all been a part of the DaVontes versatile sound since the doors first opened. “When I worked there I felt like I could play for any kind of multicultural crowd,” said Jake Ness, also known as DJ Hulk. “You never knew who would come through that door on any given night.” Ness said working a DaVonte’s was always special because of the support for the venue was strong from the community. Rita Fields, now the owner of DaVonte’s, continues the legacy of great music and entertainment that her late husband created. People come to shoot pool and listen to grooves from a multitude of genres at DaVonte’s. Everyone is welcome to enjoy a unique musical experience that DaVonte’s has provided for a decade.

Summer 2018 29

music. A locals’ favorite for years grab a burger, a brew and a band. Find Randy’s Ice House at 1321 West Second Street.


Taylor’s downtown entertainment district isn’t the only music makers in eastern Williamson county. Drive in any direction and to find more live music.


As a legendary dancehall, The Old Coupland Inn and Dancehall sets the stage for movies, like Lonesome Dove, along with numerous music videos. Though the weekend shows draw regional bands, like Dale Watson + Lonestars and Asleep at the Wheel. Find The Old Coupland Inn and Dancehall at 101 Hoxie Street in Coupland. Open Friday through Sunday.


With 16 concerts scheduled for 2018,

Circleville serves up Texas Red Dirt country music on its outdoor stage. And you might even see the bull blowout event or even suck the head of a crawfish at the same time. Find Circleville Store at 600 S. State Highway 95 in Circleville.


On the backroom stage, enjoy a some country or crowd pleaser, an Elvis Impersonator, at Hutto’s live music venue. Find The Downtown Hall of Fame at 205 East Street in Hutto.


Dance under a string of colored lights indoors or head to the patio for music under the stars. Find Cotton Club and Steakhouse at 212 E. Davilla Street in Granger.


Find occasional live music in-be-

tween Taylor, Hutto and Coupland at 619 County Road 129.


As Taylor’s downtown entertainment district expands, so do the outdoor festivals. Stroll along Main Street to catch a live music stage along with festival food. Then pop into one of the venues for specials and more music. Taylor’s Blackland Prairie Days—Saturday, May 5, the downtown entertain district explodes with fun for everyone, kids included. Find a live music stage along with a street dance. Add arts and crafts for the kids along with food stalls. Stomp N Holler—Back for a second year on Saturday, June 2, sample the best in Texas BBQ including Taylor’s own Louie Mueller’s, the Taylor Café and Davis BBQ along with headliners The Mavericks. 6th Annual Main Street Car Show— Stroll Main Street and find a vintage car crush. The annual Main Street Car Show rolls into the Taylor downtown entertainment district on Saturday, October 27.


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by a political boss, controlling continued all things city-related, Progresfrom page 34 sives advocated the professionalization of city government, transforming it into something more akin to a corporate structure. A city council would serve a similar function to a board of directors. These folks would establish a vision for the city and make policy. They would also hire a professional city manager to fill a role similar to that of a chief executive officer. The city manager, under the direction of the entire city council, would run the day-to-day operations of the city. In effect, he or she would assume the executive powers otherwise accorded the mayor. Even in the council-manager scenario, there was still a need for someone to serve as mayor. But, stripped of the mayor’s executive authority, the title became largely ceremonial. The mayor was a glorified council member who had the exact same power and authority as his or few fellow council members. The only difference was that the mayor chaired the council meetings (i.e., got to bang the gavel) and showed up to speak at functions when a figurehead from the city was needed. So the council-manager form of government featured a very weak mayor position. The Progressives really liked

the idea of a weak mayor. The council-manager system served to diffuse power, authority, and political leadership among the council rather than to concentrate it with a strong mayor who might be more easily corrupted. Taylor certainly liked that idea, as it was an early adopter in Texas of the council-manager plan. In 1913, Amarillo was the first city in the state to embrace it. Taylor quickly followed suit the next year. A key feature of the council-manager system from its early days was that the mayor be elected by his or her fellow council members rather than from the voting public. The idea was that the council would elect someone they trusted and who would be even-handed with and responsive to the other council members. So, if you’re upset about not being able to vote for your mayor, you can thank Progressive Era do-gooders from more than 100 years ago who were concerned about vesting too much power in a popularly elected and easily-corruptible mayor with perceived authority that outsized that of his or her fellow council members. But nothing is set in stone. The city charter, which provides for the council-manager form of government and the election of the mayor by the council, could always be changed. Power to the people!

Disclaimer: Dabbling ducks is the group of ducks within the Anatinae subfamily to which mallards belong. The ducks that populate Taylor’s parks are, by and large, mallards.

We’ve been your source for local news for more than a century

Back when we exchanged gossip at the soda fountain or across a backyard fence, Taylor turned to the Taylor Daily Press for the facts.

Times have changed. Social media has all but replaced the coffee shop and you can find gossip masquerading as news all over the place. We may not publish every day but we do work very hard to tell Taylor’s story. In fact, we’re the original social network. We’re even online, on Facebook and Twitter. But one thing hasn’t changed. When you want the whole story, turn to us.

PRESS 7 6 5 7 4 TAYLOR

your community. your newspaper.

_________Taylor _________ 211 W. Third St. • Taylor, TX 76564 • 512-352-8535 TaylorPress.net • on Social @GoTaylorTx

Summer 2018 33

The Dabbling Duck Dazed an d Co n f u s e d

Q: A:

“How come I wasn’t able to vote for mayor this past election? Seems like a crooked system.” Signed, Disenfranchised on Davis

Well, Disenfranchised on Davis, there certainly does seem to be a lot of confusion around this topic as of late. In fact, that confusion reoccurs each time someone with the title of mayor in Taylor is running for re-election to his or her council seat. The fact is, the average voter in Taylor doesn’t have a direct say in who the mayor is. And you have political corruption to thank for that— but not for the reason you think. Way back around the time when Taylor was still Tay-

lorsville (i.e., the late 1800s), many cities in the United States were at the mercy of political machines where a powerful “boss” sat atop a complex organization that used patronage and bullying tactics to control a community and its political structure. Oftentimes, these bosses would establish cozy relationships with mayors, who had complete administrative control and broad powers within cities, and all sorts of underhanded and nefarious dealings would result. A bunch of do-gooders finally had enough and, during the Progressive Era, such reformers set about to create a more honest system (if there is such a thing as a more honest political system). One solution they came up with was a new form of city government—the council-manager plan. Instead of having a powerful executive, in the form of a mayor perhaps influenced



continued on page 33


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akes Who m oney m all the cling? y on rec

Are we ever gonna get our STREETS FIXED?

ne Anyo ? h iring

Why is my water b ill so high?

Did we REALLY sp end $20 m illion on a football field ?

Is there live mus ic anywhere Frida y night?

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers. Is Dr. Graef open today?

Well, maybe not that one. Reading your award-winning community newspaper will make you smart. When you read the paper, you have the opportunity to learn about Taylor schools and property taxes, street repair plans and about the latest police activity as well as local businesses, companies looking for employees and houses for rent. Your subscription gives you access to our website where we’ve archived

more than 100,000 articles, photographs and videos dating back to 2002 so you can explore the history behind issues like how our downtown master plan was developed, school bond elections and stories about delightful local characters. Along the way, your subscription helps our work to hold elected officials accountable and to support local non-profit civic and charitable groups. There’s nowhere else you can find the answers to some of Taylor’s most vexing questions and there’s no better time to become a new subscriber. ! WOW wspaper ne e h t g mart! Readinmake you s CAN

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your community. your newspaper.

In print Wednesday and Sunday Online 24/7/365 TaylorPress.net On Social @GoTaylorTx


Summer 2018 35

Residential Postal Patron Taylor, Texas 76574

_________ Taylor _________



P.O. Box 1040 • Taylor, TX 76574 • 512-352-8538

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