Now if this isn’t the coolest damn thing.
Fans of Elvis Presley celebrated The King’s 85th birthday on Wednesday, January 8th, and staunch country traditionalist and Ameripolitan godfather Dale Watson celebrated in style at his brand new historic honky-tonk in his newly adopted part-time hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Called Hernando’s Hide-A-Way, it’s located in the Whitehaven neighborhood of Memphis not too far from Graceland, and close to where Watson bought a house in 2017 when he started sharing time between Austin.
Built around 1900, the four walls of Hernando’s can tell of Elvis himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, and other titans of Memphis and American music playing in the iconic club. Jerry Lee appeared at Hernando’s so often in the 80’s and 90’s, he referred to it as his office. It only makes sense Dale Watson would want to own this piece of American music history; though Dale is mostly known as a honky tonker, his alter ego “Dalevis” can put most Presley impersonators to shame, and he rocks the pompadour harder than most on a daily basis.
Hernando’s Hide-A-Way officially closed in 2006 for everything but private events, but Dale Watson bought the building in 2018 for a song, and now it’s a swinging honky tonk once again. When Dale’s Ameripolitan Awards come to Memphis for the third year in a row February 21st to 24th, Hernando’s Hide-A-Way will be one of the primary venues for events and showcases.
Hernando’s got a big endorsement on Wednesday when none other than Priscilla Presley stopped by to see what Dale has done to the legendary spot and see what kind of trouble she could get into. Also hanging out at the club to celebrate Elvis’s 85th were rock and roll legend Roy Head, the pilot of the Lisa Marie Ron Strauss, the mechanic for Elvis Billy Strawn, and other Memphis notables.
“What a way to celebrate Elvis’ 85th birthday! I might be the luckiest man in the world!” Dale Watson said on Instagram—a reference to his latest studio release, the Memphis-inspired Call Me Lucky.
Dale Watson is putting his money, time, and sweat where his mouth is, not just proselytizing about the preservation of American roots music, but putting in time in both Memphis, Austin, and on the road keeping the old sounds, styles, and spots alive.