Founded in 1970, Ray Benson and his band Asleep At The Wheel has been part of the American roots landscape for more than 50 years. Although the band got its start on a farm in Paw Paw, West Virginia, it became a cornerstone of the Austin, Texas, scene upon its arrival in 1973 with its Western swing and honky-tonk country inspired music. To date they have released 31 albums and charted more than 20 singles on the country charts, received 10 Grammy Awards and were given the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Americana Music Association. I can personally vouch of the fun their high octane live shows are too….no wonder they were cited by the Country Music Association as the 1976 Touring Band Of The Year. With an incredible 50 years of music making behind them, they will be kicking off their anniversary celebrations by releasing a three track EP “ The Better Times” on 28th May. Produced by Benson for Bismeaux Records, its title track is a hopeful original written while riding out the pandemic and sees Benson take lead vocals. On “ All I’m Asking”, a rousing request to get back together written by Band of Heathens’ Ed Jurdi and Gordi Quist, it’s Asleep At The Wheel vocalist/fiddle player Katie Shore taking the lead while she and Benson harmonise on the final track, the traditional tune “ Columbus Stockade Blues” which is arranged it the spirit of Willie Nelson and Shirley Collie’s 1960 version. Once the EP is out in the world, the band will be hitting the road to continue the celebrations with a month long run of shows that will take them from Texas’s legendary Gruene Hall on 29th May up through Texas to Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri and back down to College Station to end the run on 20th June. A full list of tour dates are shown below, and ticket information can be found at asleepatthewheel.com/tour.
But this is just the beginning of their 50th Anniversary Year celebrations….the band’s fans are urged to stay tuned as 2021 has more exciting announcements to come.
Catch Asleep at the Wheel On Tour:
May 29 – Gruene Hall – Gruene, TexasJune 3 – Birdsong Amphitheater – Stephenville, Texas June 5 – Starlight Ranch Event Center – Amarillo, Texas June 6 – Cactus Theater – Lubbock, TexasJune 10 – Rose Music Hall – Columbia, Missouri June 11 – The Sheldon – St. Louis, MissouriJune 19 – Buck’s Backyard – Buda, TexasJune 20 – Rudder Auditorium – College Station, Texas
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