Country group Midland will revive L.A.’s fabled Palomino honky-tonk

The 1964 Pontiac Bonneville station wagon owned by Nudie Cohn, on loan to the Valley Relics Museum, sits in front of the Palomino neon sign in 2018.
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

The Palomino’s iconic neon sign will flicker on Lankershim Boulevard once again. Country music trio Midland will revive the venerable North Hollywood club next month for one night only.

The now-shuttered honky-tonk, once revered as the country music capital of the West, will serve as the site of the classic-country-leaning band’s Oct. 15 show celebrating its second album, “Let It Roll.”

“We are always looking to get to the roots, where the music seeps into every crack or corner, you never know what you’re gonna feel. If the walls of the Palomino could talk, we’d probably camp out there,” the band’s bassist/vocalist, Cameron Duddy, said in a statement Thursday.

“The Pal” was long considered the California counterpart to Nashville’s revered Ryman Auditorium, but the fabled club closed in 1995 after more than four decades as the epicenter of West Coast country music. Legends including Patsy Cline, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Jerry Lee Lewis all performed in the building, which has remained as a banquet hall.

“As it is, we’re stoked to play on the stage where so many influences, heroes and hardcore punks have broken ground. For us, it’s harvesting everything we love — and bringing the Palomino back to what it’s known for,” Duddy said.

Incidentally, the honky-tonk was revived around this time last year when musicians Jim Lauderdale, Rosie Flores and James Intveld, who frequently played there decades ago, performed an October benefit concert ahead of the haunt’s 70th anniversary.

Few venues in Los Angeles can boast as much colorful history or affection among the music community as the fabled Palomino Club in North Hollywood.

Oct. 9, 2018


“Places like this are disappearing,” Midland lead singer Mark Wystrach said, “so you want to remember, to grab the moments while you still can. We live for hardcore honky-tonks, and to bring that back to a place that’s seen Gary Stewart, Freddy Fender, punk bands, Rick Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel, it’s an honor to connect — even for one night — to that kind of past.”

For Midland’s show, the original Palomino sign will again be brought out of the Valley Relics Museum and be put on display.

“We believe in hanging onto the past,” said Midland band member Jess Carson. “Because there’s an awful lot of wild, an awful lot of great and an awful lot of stuff you can’t live down. We’re hoping to make a little bit of all of that happen when they plug in the neon [sign] and open the doors for this!”

Tickets for the Palomino show are on sale on Midland’s website.

Drill down far enough and almost every band has a tiny, hidden catalyst to which it owes its existence.

Sept. 26, 2017