Gary P. Nunn has played rooms the size of Texas.
This Texas troubadour knows his venues — small and large.
Saturday night he rocked the backyard stage at Brock’s Food & Drink in Acton as children chased chickens and their parents swigged ice cold beer arriving to tables by the buckets.
“Don’t sell it short, you know,” Nunn deadpans when asked how often he plays funky small places like this. “I do a heck of a lot of business here. But to answer your question, yes. As many as I can, because I love these kinds of rooms.”
Good thing because the Granbury folks sweating away a Texas afternoon on Brock’s grassy yard came to see the Texas legend and the Sons of the Bunkhouse Band to help James and Jan Brock mark the one year anniversary of their honky-tonk and smokehouse.
It was the affable Nunn’s first time to perform in this Hood County honky-tonk, and he sure looked pleased to be here.
Sporting a pair of blue-tinted round spectacles (“Well, it’s partially for necessity. Okay. And partially out of pure vanity,” he said with a laugh.), blue jeans, black t-shirt, a white kerchief tied around his neck and a light brown hat (“I can’t find one that suits me any better,” he said.), he shook hands, smiled and chatted with fans before the show.
“Granbury is my kind of town,” he said. “A Texas town. I like it. Informal is good, so loose and everyone looks like they’re having a good time.”
This unimposing, self-deprecating man seems to genuinely like where he was.
“I love this town. It’s a beautiful city surrounded by beautiful water,” he said.
For Nunn it always goes back to the people: “And all the folks are, you know, they’re genuinely, genuinely, Texas type of folks.”
Oh yeah, he is Texas through and through.
The local folks let out a loud cheer as Nunn broke out into “It’s About to Get Western.” The 75-year-old’s silky voice filled the summer air with a Texas twang Texans could understand.
He was definitely giving his people what they wanted.
“I’m gonna try to give them what I always give them,” he said. “Oh, I can’t change. I’ve got quite a repertory of popular songs that people want to hear. So I try to do as many of those as I can.”
Nunn paid tribute to great contemporaries — Willie Nelson and Michael Martin Murphy — and country music legends like Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers.
He opened his set by asking the nearly 200 people in the audience to yodel with him.
“Okay, this one’s got a little yodeling, a Hank Williams and Jimmy Rogers type of thing in traditional country, and I’m gonna ask you to do it for me,” he said. “We’re under the stars. We’re all out here. And so I want you to help me sing. Are you ready?”
Boy, were they ever.