During its brief existence, John Kenyon's Vagabond on Greenville Avenue became quite a special little music venue -- thanks, in large part, to the involvement of Eric Nadel, The Voice of the Texas Rangers and Baseball Hall of Fame-r who started serving as its musical director shortly after its January 2014 opening. Any venue that soft-opens with a performance featuring Joe Ely, Terry Allen and Butch Hancock -- each of whom has a small stake in the joint -- is a pretty special place. The food was pretty good too.
But it appears it wasn't meant to be: The Vagabond closed a week ago, and its fate remains unclear.
At the beginning of last week its live-music calendar went blank, and the phone number went straight to fax. On Thursday, there was a sign taped to the front door: "Closed Monday for kitchen repairs." Not a good sign.
Kenyon said he couldn't talk on Thursday -- "in meetings." He eventually sent a text that said, "We are considering an ownership change and that's all I am at liberty to say a the moment." Others familiar with the situation say that's about right. It's still not clear who's buying it or what they plan to do with it -- keep it as the Vagabond, change the name and keep the concept or start over from scratch.
Kenyon -- once known as "The Mayor of Greenville Avenue" during a fabled run that included ownership or co-ownership of Nick's Uptown, the Fast and Cool Club and the Red Jacket -- told us last year he sold his house to open the Vagabond. And he did: He was living in an apartment following the club's grand opening.
Business was good for a while; the music, even better. (Leon Bridges played the Vagabond long before he was on late-night network television.) But the rainy spring hurt business: The porch, used during live-music shows, was all but inaccessible in May. Last week Nadel cleared the calendar.
"Hey guys I just found out this morning that our friends at the Vagabond have closed their doors," singer-songwriter Dan Dyer wrote on his Facebook page last week. "They told me they are hopeful to reopen (maybe in a different spot) in a couple months. Sorry to cancel the show i had coming up next week."
CultureMap is reporting this morning that the Vagabond is closed. It is. For now. For good? Who knows. Kenyon has once again gone silent, like his club.