Luckenbach Texas is a place with a consciousness all of its own. It vibrates with music, laughter and the spirit of connection that binds us all. A Post Office, Dancehall, scenic outdoor event area, happy roosters running wild, big beautiful trees and a cozy wood stove inside the legendary Luckenbach bar all set the staging for absolute pure M-A-G-I-C on a daily basis.
Music, music and more music fills the air every day. Picker Circles with legendary Texas musicians, locals, touring musicians and sometimes even folks performing for the first time are held outdoors or packed cozily in the bar. Concerts in the Dancehall, outdoor festivals and stage performances are accompanied by the sounds of boots scootin’ (on the hardwood floor or in the outside dirt), bottles clinking, children giggling and the vroom vroom of motorcycles coming in and out of the grounds.
And then there is Mr. Walt Perryman – The Luckenbach Poet. When I moved back to Texas after a few years in Nashville, Abbey (it’s always been just Abbey, I don’t know if anyone knows her full name)
had just become the Event Manager of Luckenbach and welcomed me back to
perform there with open arms. It is because of her dedication, spirit, and hard work that Luckenbach Texas has not only sustained it’s magic,
but has soared to new levels.
Although I had performed in Luckenbach years ago, I somehow missed connecting with Walt. One afternoon before a show, Abbey introduced me to him and when he clasped me in a warm handshake, we were instant Soul Friends. Just one of those things where you know you instantly get each other. In a few minutes, he wandered over to the Picker’s Circle, and recited one original poem after the other. With a twinkle in his eye and a hand over his heart, the locals and tourists alike were mesmerized as he had the whole crowd roaring with laughter one minute, choking back tears the next. Just Beautiful. After that, anytime I was playing in Luckenbach, Walt knew I’d make him perform as much as possible so that every first timer would be sure to hear his magic.
Walt was born in West Texas and grew up in Grandfalls. He wrote just for fun, and wanted to be a cowboy when he grew up. His life took a different path as he left for a career in the Oil Fields, and moved to Saudi Arabia where he worked for 26 years. He then retired and moved to the Texas Hill Country.
“I came back with a wheel barrow full of money,” he says. “But then I discovered the Stock Market and did my own trading for awhile. Well, the rest is history- I still have the wheel barrow. I came to Luckenbach eleven years ago to drink a beer and I never left. I love the music, the people. It is a magical place. ”
LUCKENBACH TEXAS by Walt Perryman
Luckenbach is not just a bar, it is a lot more than that
It is a place to get married, go to Church, or buy a hat.
When they have a Picker’s Circle, it does not take long
Before someone is singing a good old Gospel song.
We have had many funerals out here, too.
Mike Baudat, Hondo and Marge to name a few.
Some people say it’s haunted out here and that may be,
But all of the ghosts I have met have been friendly to me.
I have heard some people say it is like magic out here,
I have heard others say it is just the cold beer.
The Picker’s Circle singing gospel songs under the tree,
may not be heaven but it is the next thing to me.
A few years ago, Walt was diagnosed with cancer and faced it with strength and grace that is truly inspirational. “I think my bout with cancer opened my eyes and made me realize how short life is, ” he reflects. “I am a cancer survivor. I have many poems about growing up, about life, getting old and so on. Probably a hundred or so.”
CANCER SURVIVORS by Walt Perryman
When I was first diagnosed, my first thought was I was going to die.
So I wrote this for cancer survivors, I think they will identify.
Sometimes with God’s help and modern medicine, we will live another day
That is when you appreciate life in a more honest and positive way.
Once you have cancer, you look at life different than before
I believe it makes you appreciate everything a whole lot more.
We all know that someday we will die, and that is very true
But sometimes being a cancer survivor can be a benefit to you.
It makes the sunsets and sunrises more magnificent that you’ve ever seen
And you appreciate every hour and minute that comes in between.
Yes modern medicine has come a real long way,
I thank God and modern medicine each and every day.
Walt Perryman is more than a Poet, he is an Experience. He speaks his simple soul truths from a wisdom and a deep heart that is hard to describe unless you see him in person. And he can make just about anything hilarious. I’ve watched people laugh so hard they get tears in their eyes when they hear his poem about old age.
Walt jaunts in and out of Luckenbach daily, smilin’ and sippin’ beer – and delivering poems to people all over the world who come to see the legendary town that is Luckenbach Texas. No matter where you live, it is a place that should be on your Bucket List. Take a trip to the Center of the Universe – hear some amazing music, feel that magic, and see the Great Luckenbach Poet – he will light up your soul if you let him.
~ Brigitte London
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