The stoned, steely sounds of '70s country music live on in Echo Park — on Sunday afternoons, at least. Breezy and boozy vibes abound at the Echo every Sunday afternoon from spring to fall at Grand Ole Echo, an open-ended country showcase that features all manner of buzzed outlaws and country-fried songwriters but zeroes in on the hazy days of Willie and Waylon and Ronstadt. The party takes advantage of both the Echo's main performance space and its sunny back patio, where Ray's Back Patio BBQ serves up slow-roasted pork on a white hamburger bun for $6 a pop. Kids are welcome and run free with joyous abandon; handsome young men and women lounge around with cans of Bud; vintage Western shirts and cowboy boots hang for sale on racks by the side of the stage. It's the music, though, that keeps fans coming back every week, with hot-shot local acts such as country-fried rocker Elijah Ocean and the flawless bluegrass harmonies of Dear Lemon Trees sharing the stage with touring Americana acts. Can't-miss special tributes, like those dedicated to Merle Haggard and Townes Van Zandt earlier this year, bring out scores of L.A.'s finest roots singers and musicians. If you squint hard enough, you could mistake the whole affair for a Nashville house party circa 1978.
Grand Ole Echo; Credit: Chris Kissel