An Alabama native who’d gone AWOL during Vietnam to cut a record with some buddies, Brooks Brannon was primed for the whole cosmic-cowboy scene when he hit town in 1976 – just in time to play at the Soap Creek Saloon and befriend a who’s who list of Austin icons. Later, he took up residence at campus dive Hole in the Wall, where he remained till this spring, working sunup to sundown and holding court behind the bar to college kids, Austin City Limits staffers, and cranberry-and-soda veterans alike. He’s a bandanna-wearing, cigarette-rolling, natural-born storyteller who can tell you about the days when Townes Van Zandt and Blaze Foley would sit on the sidewalk outside the Hole waiting for it to open and when the Hickoids’ Jeff Smith regularly closed it down with an onstage self-depantsing. These days Brannon’s farther out of town, tending bar at Poodie’s (owned by longtime Willie Nelson stage manager Poodie Locke), but you can still catch him slinging drinks at the Hole on a Saturday night – or better still, playing onstage Friday nights and ready to trade a good story for a shot of Patrón Silver.
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