The Bugle Boy in La Grange offers an intimate setting for the audience and artists to connect
The Bugle Boy in La Grange doesn't need beer specials to attract a crowd. Instead, concerts in the former Army barracks focus on the connection between the musician and the audience. It's like sitting in a living room with an artist singing just for you.
Lane Gosnay started supplying music to the Fayette County area several years ago by hosting the Bear Creek Concerts series. The house concerts led to the opening of a venue that presents music in a relaxed, family setting on the northern outskirts of town.
In January 2005, Gosnay purchased the former Sons of Hermann Hall. The building has the feel of a church activity hall. Audience members sit on couches, around small tables, and with their feet up on empty chairs within a few feet of the stage. There isn't a bad seat in the house.
"A lot of performers are a little uncomfortable at first with how quiet the audiences tend to be," Gosnay says. "Sometimes it takes a couple of songs before they can feel the audience, but after that, they'll really connect. It's a great thing to watch."
With her reputation for providing artists with an appreciative audience, Gosnay attracts many Central Texas favorites such as Shake Russell, Eliza Gilkyson, Sara Hickman, and Ruthie Foster to her stage. She also takes pride in giving up-and-coming artists a chance to hone their skills.
"People trust the level of talent that we bring to town, even if they don't recognize the name," Gosnay says. On any given Friday or Saturday night, the audience will include all ages, from retirees to young children.
Besides a loyal group of locals, the club draws fans from Houston and Austin, many of whom have weekend homes in the area. She once had a couple drive from West Texas just because they wanted to enjoy live music without being in a loud barroom.
You never know who will sign up to play at Showcase Sundays, held the first and third Sundays of each month. Gosnay has tried to elevate the afternoons to more than just a regular open mic. A panel of judges picks one artist to be invited back for biannual "best of" showcases, and then the winners of those rounds play at the Bugle Boy's anniversary party.
The Bugle Boy is about 60 miles east of Austin off of Highway 71 at 1051 N. Jefferson (U.S. 77). The canteen offers a selection of wine, beer, smoothies, and coffee drinks. Shows on Friday and Saturday begin at 8pm and usually end by 10pm. For information on who is appearing, call 979/968-9944 or go to www.thebugleboy.com.
Gosnay recommends dining before the show at Bistro 108, 108 S. Main, or at Fishes & Loaves Family Restaurant, 4601 Hwy. 159. For a list of local inns and motels, go to www.lagrangetx.org.
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