Monday, July 12, 2010

Here Comes The Dottie Hill Musicfest & The Ranch Is Gone For Good?

First off, I just wanted to get everyone's radar going for the upcoming concert August 7'th at The Hog Pit in Midland, Tx. It is The Dottie Hill Music Festival and this year will be featuring The Jackson Lee Brooks Band, Emory Quinn, Mike McClure, and ourselves. (not necessarily in that order) It should be a wild show with possible surprise guest appearances and plenty of beer to get you out on the dance floor.

I know I'm late to the party on this bit of Midland gossip, but I thought I would address the rumor mill surrounding The Ranch closing their doors for "remodeling". There are various stories milling about and I thought I would just share what I have heard. You can choose for yourself what to believe or just mash them all together to make a brand new bit of gossip. Backtracking a bit for those of you from outside our goldfish bowl, The Ranch in Midland, TX is/was a bar that catered to the Texas Country scene and had a healthy traffic of the leading bands across its stage. One thing that made them such an appealing venue for the area was that they were one of the only places in Midland/Odessa big enough for the larger bands to come through while also being 18 and up instead of the staunch 21 and up at most other places. This let the fanatical fans who couldn't drink yet, stampede into the place with their black X'ed hands and fill the front of stage while buying every bit of merch the band had to offer. Anywho, one day The Ranch had a sign on its marquee "closed for remodeling" it was not planned as far as anyone knew and it seemed rather strange. 

One story is that the owners hadn't been filing the correct taxes for the place, got audited, fined, and then TABC jumped in and revoked their licensure to serve alcohol. (this one sounds the most plausible) Once that gossip was established there was a buzz that the Graham brothers were buying the place from the previous owners since the cost to reopen after paying the fines and regaining the licenses was too much of a financial burden. Seems to make sense considering Graham's is the only other competition in the area for their type of establishment. Someone had even said it will be renamed "Diamonds and Denim" and I have no idea how to feel about that. I'm not a big fan of Graham's (for those outside the know, these are large bars with different themed rooms attempting to cater to the whole demographic of the town instead of one type of club country, ghetto, dance, karaoke, etc) only because of the mash up of so many different groups of people in those places always, from my experience, end badly. If they keep The Ranch or whatever it is they'll rename it to under the same format as before I'm sure it won't be too rough of a transition. But then again this is all hearsay. 

A smaller whisper for their reason for closing was the place just went broke, and that I can't quite believe. We played there a few weeks ago for the Ranch Jam and they seemed to be doing just fine with headcount and door charges. Of course, you never know how the money is being handled and if in fact it's being funneled back to the right parts of the business. Still I doubt it....

Finally yet another reason I heard floating around was that it was because of a sting TABC ran on the bar for serving minors. There is no way that place intentionally serves to minors. They were always pretty serious about carding when I went, but teenagers are smart and they know how to wash a marker X off a hand. 

I really don't know what the real story is, but I just wanted to share the whispers and see if someone could set us all straight. It could be part of one of these stories is true or none of them. I had noticed that a few people were filtering into the blog looking for info on The Ranch closing so I thought I would address it. If you have anything to add please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Also, the guitarist try out was a no go. He just wasn't our style. Nice guy though. We have a few more hopefuls before we start getting nervous. For everyone wondering about the Samson Airline Wireless System, it worked perfectly out of the box. The only thing I need to work with is its slight effect on my tone. To my overly attuned ear regarding my tone it sounds like the signal has muffled my tone, but there is a fix for it and I am working on that this week. Aside from that, wireless is so much easier than lugging a 1/4" around stage.

  2. Hi,
    I just stumbled upon your blog while trying to find a country bar. I'm new to this town (well, new to Texas) and am a big country fan and have always wanted to go to a "Texas, line-dancing, good music, kinda bar" - I'm in Midland and from what your blog says, it sounds like The Ranch was just the place I was looking for.
    Has it been reopened? Is there anywhere close like it?


  3. Mikell,
    Welcome to Texas! Line dancing isn't synonymous with Texas that's more of a Nashville or Branson thing. But I can point you in the direction of some fine two stepping establishments. It sounds like you are looking for something more commercial so the Ranch was indeed the place you were looking for. Until it reopens under new ownership You're best bet for a similar experience would be the country room at Gaham's Central Station in Odessa. Stay only in that room and don't wander though, because there are some shady characters who frequent the other parts of the club. If you want something more authentic to West Texas honkey tonk, live music, and two stepping, head over to The Hog Pit. They usually have a good band playing on the weekend and there's sawdust on the floor for spinning your partner across the floor. The patron and staff there are memorable, but very friendly. Hope this helps, let me know where ya'll went and what you thought.