Interstate 35 runs like a zipper down the gut of Texas, and acts like an unofficial border where the American South meets the West. The highway is also a musical corridor, being the main conduit in and out of Austin, TX, aka the “Live Music Capitol of the World.” Up and down that ribbon of I-35 are places that have been regaled in song by the musicians who’ve passed by them or had memorable experiences there.
Willie’s Place was built about three years ago. Though it wasn’t very old, it was the last of a dying breed of unique places that America can boast, where commerce happens, but not at the expense of regional taste and local appeal. What it didn’t have was a well-recognized company logo out front, like 98% of the gas stations and truck stops in America do. It had a hand-painted sign.