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Travel advisor Meaghan Clawsie knows Texas. She resides in Austin. But still, she’d never been to JL Bar Ranch & Resort. Until recently that is. Where she discovered ‘how much fun’ the ranch is. Especially karaoke.
“Because of the homey, communal feel of the main lodge, you never know who you’ll be rubbing elbows with at the bar, or sharing a mic with at karaoke,” says Meaghan. “On my visit, I cued up ‘Life is a Highway’ only to be joined at the second mic by an unfamiliar bearded man in jeans and a puffer vest. As I stumbled through the lyrics and fumbled the melody, he was pitch perfect and confident as he joined me in song. After the song finished, he stayed at the mic and chose another song, performing a solo. Everyone’s jaws collectively dropped as he commanded our attention with his deep, gravely soulful voice. Turns out he’s a successful recording artist with his own band in New Orleans. We had been told by the staff that “you never know who’s gonna take the mic next at karaoke.” And they were right.
“One of the reasons karaoke sessions at JL Bar get so interesting is that the ranch also houses a music recording studio on the premises. And many well- known and up-and-coming musicians have recorded songs there. (There’s also an airport on property so they can fly in via private jet). It’s not uncommon for musicians to come together at the ranch, share some libations (the wine selection at the ranch is amazing), and engage in songwriting. Once they’ve written a song, it’s easy to move into the recording phase, right on the premises. The owners of the ranch actually own the rights to many songs, by novice and famous songwriters alike, ie Kacey Musgraves – at least one of her songs is owned by the ranch.
“Aside from karaoke, I was also quite wowed at how beautiful and luxurious the property is,” Meaghan continues. “It is truly stunning, and the gathering places and main buildings are so rustic chic and well-appointed that they take your breath away. The manager of the ranch compared the feel of the grounds to South Africa, and I instantly agreed – incredible views; the landscape and sky reminiscent of what you might experience there.
“Another high point – the staff. Two of my favorites were John and Sydney, a couple who live and work at the ranch. John is the resident horse trainer and wrangler, and Sydney is the beautiful wine sommelier who has the ability to teach anyone about wine while making it exciting. Having lived in the Bay Area for 20 years, I’ve been to my share of wineries, wine tastings and wine events, and I’ve heard dozens of winemakers speak about their craft. But Sydney’s knowledge of wine, and her selections at the wine tastings she offers at the ranch, blew me away. “
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