This week’s Venue Spotlight shines on The Old Coupland Inn & Dance Hall!
Recently, I left the city of Austin on a Friday night and made my way to Coupland, Texas to visit one of the few historic honky tonks that Texas is still blessed to have running. Out past the city lights, turning on an FM road instantly had me breathing easier and I knew a good time was in store. Upon arriving, I was immediately welcomed and serviced by the kindest staff who made me feel like family. A special shout-out to the locals who let me crash their table, steal a few dances and who also gave me some awesome music recommendations. Oh, and if you’re wondering, Randall King and his band put on a damn good country show. After that night, my faith was restored in true honky-tonk dance halls. And if you have yet to visit, trust me, Coupland will renew yours too!
“Coupland has history and has a beautiful energy that just makes people feel good and to escape, enjoy their friends and dancing, and laughing. It allows people to come into a place where we can feel good and just might remind ourselves how to be people.” -Deryl Dodd
With a rich history, the Coupland Dance Hall building began life in 1904 as Coupland Drug Company. serving many purposes including a newspaper and grocer. But 1992, owners Barbara and Tim Worthy converted the former Speckles Grocery into a Texas-sized (7,000 plus square foot) dance hall and named it Coupland Dance Hall & Tavern. In June 2017, The Worthy’s retired and sold it all to Abbey Road.
Today you can catch the biggest names in Texas music at Coupland such as Dale Watson, Deryl Dodd, Kevin Fowler, Roger Creager, Reckless Kelly, Jason Boland, Cody Canada, as well as up and coming artists such as Jake Worthington, Randall King, and Kody West.
Road, previously an event manager and talent buyer for Threadgill’s and the legendary Luckenbach, and former On-Air Personality at Sun radio and KOKE FM, is using her expertise to build on the reputation of the dancehall while investing in the talent of the Texas Country/Red Dirt scene. She shared that her position allows her to develop up and coming artists and that she truly enjoys connecting artists with other artists for mentorship.
Road’s desire to “bring Coupland back to its dance hall glory days all the while keeping its precious memories and magic alive” is also matched with her creativity and willingness to think outside of the box. Coupland has an interesting business model in that its restaurant/bar and a seven-room b&b that is open two a week. Therefore, while Road and her team invest in the next leaders of the Texas Music scene, they already serving the next generation of dancers and concert attendees with “Teen Night”. Road shared interesting insights that this generation of dancers is all about 90s country but mixes tunes from new artists for young listeners.
Coupland has added other special events such as “Sunday Supper and Show” which will include dinner and drink menus hand-picked by the artists themselves. The meals are then prepared by Coupland’s high-end chef for guests to enjoy (along with the artists) prior to a show. Singer/songwriters Corb Lund and John Evans will be among the first to host and perform.
Whether it’s locals young or old, up and coming artists or Texas’ very best, or even a curious Texas Music Picker such as myself, providing excellent customer service and artist experience is what sets Coupland apart. Road and her team are committed to making sure anyone who walks through Coupland’s doors is taken care of. As much as I felt as though this special venue was a best-kept secret, Road says that “This space is for everybody…that’s what dancehalls are about!” Check out the venue’s calendar of events here.
Editorial contributor for Texas Music Pickers and a whole-hearted collector of Texas/Red Dirt tunes and the stories behind them. You can also find me on the dance floor.