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Live music returns to Smitty's

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In 1994, Glen Frey strode up to the microphone in a theater at the Warner Bros. movie studio in Los Angeles. As the frontman for The Eagles, he probably had his opening line rehearsed.

The band broke up in 1980 and drummer Don Henley famously said Hell would freeze over before The Eagles got back together. It didn’t take quite that long. They reunited for an MTV special and Frey opened the show with a joke: “For the record, we never broke up; we just took a 14-year vacation.”

Last Saturday night, another long vacation came to a close, though not as long as that of The Eagles. Smitty’s Billiards, Bar and Grill reopened its music venue after a three-year hiatus.

“I love music and I love Texas country music, and I want this to be a place where people can get started, and where we can get bands that everyone wants to hear,” said Smitty’s owner, Callie Schmidt.

Local up-and-comer Will Brogan opened the show and Bubba Westly played the main event. Free food was stationed downstairs and dancers twirled in front of the stage upstairs.

In two days, Brenham favorite Steven Marshall launches the Friday night concert series. The Friday shows will typically be acoustic sets, but full bands will mix in when available.

Schmidt is working to book the likes of Cody Canada and Bri Bagwell for the larger Saturday night shows. Before long, musicians who play at the venue will be able to enjoy one of the many new features on the horizon: a spacious green room.

The massive space on the second floor that runs the length of the billiards hall is being outfitted as a private lounge.

“Pretty much, we’re going to gut the inside of the place,” Schmidt said.

New floors, new paint, new pool tables, new sitting tables and chairs, and a new bar menu for nighttime vittles fill out the list of upcoming changes. And a new name — the space was formerly known as Legends, but now the name syncs up with the cafe.

Plus one more: a mural that will span the entire length of the building on Park Street.

Muralist Christopher Barnett is working on the creation right now and he expects to unveil it next week. He is originally from London, but has lived in San Marcos for the last 15 years. He travels the country painting murals and wrapped a project last week in Philadelphia before coming to Brenham.

“I do really massive things; I do small things; I do all sorts of stuff,” Barnett said.

In his paint splattered jeans and t-shirt, he works on a scissor lift to paint a man lining up a shot with a pool cue. Unlike many muralists, Barnett doesn’t paint with a sprayer. He does it all with a brush.

“It will have a completely different kind of texture,” he said. “With the spray murals, when you get real close, they have a fuzziness to them. This one will be really crisp.”

Regardless of style, the sheer size will be enough to attract eyeballs.

Schmidt already has musicians booked through the end of the year, both local groups and touring acts. As she rolls out the renovations, Brenham’s newest old venue will be another destination for live music in town.

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