For an uprooted Austinite, the Sons of Hermann Hall is pure Southern comfort. No pretense, no posturing, just honky-tonk and heartache, darlin', with some of the best Americana acts to come through Dallas. That's due, at least in part, to Mike Snider, who began booking shows at the historical venue a decade ago this week. "At that time, it seemed like clubs that played the music I liked were all missing something," says Snider, who also owns Deep Ellum's Allgood Café. "I saw Marcia Ball at Poor David's Pub, and there was no dance floor. Is there anyone who calls for a dance floor more than Marcia Ball?" So when Maryann Price came to town on January 14, 1994, Snider helped book her at SOHH. And when that show made money, he booked the Bad Livers, along with a little upstart act called the Old 97's. Things were rough that first year. "We lost more than we made," he says, "and I was paying out of my pocket." But his late mother had left him an inheritance, which he poured, along with his heart, into making the Sons of Hermann Hall the venue-away-from-home for his favorite live acts. "I could have bought a house," he says, "but I invested in this business." And it has brought its own rewards. Since then, SOHH has hosted some of country music's finest: Ray Price, Billy Joe Shaver, Joe Ely. "I mean, geez, it blows my mind," Snider says. "I had these guys' albums when I was in college." This week, Sons of Hermann celebrates its decade of Mike Snider with two great shows. On Saturday, the twang is the thang when one of Dallas' best country acts, Eleven Hundred Springs, joins forces with one of Austin's finest, The Cornell Hurd Band, who play at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. before the Springs' midnight set. Then, on Wednesday, January 14, we'll go wall-eyed and weak-kneed when the Old 97's play a show prior to their upcoming tour. There's no better excuse to pay your props to Mike--not that he's complaining. "As long as I can pay my rent," he says, "I'm a happy guy. "
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