After El Gallo closure, Little Mexico picks up Manuel “Cowboy” Donley

Manuel ‘Cowboy’ Donley performs with his daughter, Sylvia Donley, at El Gallo on Tuesday, January 24, 2017. The Tejano music legend had been a fixture at the South Austin restaurant for years.  DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Over the years, fans of Tejano music legend Manuel “Cowboy” Donley, 89, knew that if they wanted to find him, they could drop by South Austin’s El Gallo restaurant on Tuesday evenings to hear the classic boleros and songs of yesteryear like “Solamente Una Vez.” He’d been playing on and off at El Gallo for more than 40 years until the restaurant closed in January. Aside from missing El Gallo’s popular dishes, loyal customers wondered where Manuel “Cowboy” Donley would perform next.

RELATED: Customers mourn loss of El Gallo Restaurant 

Manuel ‘Cowboy’ Donley performs with his daughter, Sylvia Donley. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Now music lovers can find him and his daughter and musical partner, Sylvia Donley, performing at Little Mexico Restaurant (2304 S. First St.) from 7-9 p.m. every Thursday.

Manuel “Cowboy” Donley, a National Endowment for the Arts’ lifetime achievement recipient, packed the house at El Gallo on his last performance there so much that the kitchen ran out of food shortly after 7:30 p.m. Throughout his career he helped popularize orquesta music, which blends Latin rhythms with popular American musical genres such as rock and jazz. He blazed a trail in the Mexican-American music community and has inspired many other musicians along the way.

RELATED: Manuel “Cowboy” Donley receives national honor

Although the Donleys were sad about no longer performing at El Gallo, Sylvia Donley says that Little Mexico has a “warm family feel” that reminds her of all the performances throughout the years at El Gallo.

 

 

 


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