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Asleep at the Wheel

Asleep at the Wheel has seen miles and miles of Texas, and they got their kicks on Route 66. Now in their 46th year, the band continues to
introduce the western swing genre to a new generation. “It’s been an amazing ride. From Paw Paw to San Francisco to Austin, we’ve seen it all,”
says Wheel front man Ray Benson. “But, rest assured, there are still so many exciting projects in the works. The Wheel keeps rolling!”


“There's some relatively unknown group around that I really dig. Asleep at the Wheel plays great country music.” - Van Morrison's Rolling
Stone Interview (1973)


The Beginnings: It all started when Ray Benson, Floyd Domino, and Lucky Oceans, along with a Vermont farm boy named Leroy Preston;
Virginian Chris O'Connell; and Gene Dobkin, a bass player and fellow classmate of Benson's joined forces. They began with a simple goal: to play
and help revive American roots music. Asleep at the Wheel landed a gig opening for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna in Washington, DC in 1970. At the
height of Vietnam, many Americans were using their choice of music to express their stance on the con􀏐lict in southeast Asia. “We wanted to break
that mold,” said Benson. “We were concerned more with this amazing roots music, which we felt was being lost amid the politics. We were too
country for the rock folks and we were too long-􀀀-haired for the country folks. But everybody got over it once the music started playing.” A year
later, they were coaxed into moving to California by Commander Cody, leader of Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen. But, the band’s big
break came when Van Morrison mentioned them in an interview with Rolling Stone. The record offers started coming in and the Wheel got
rolling.


80+ Members But Who’s Counting? The musicianship of Asleep at the Wheel has become the stuff of legends. Reuter’s pegged the Wheel as “one
of the best live acts in the business.” Taking a page from Bob Wills’ book, the band has constantly toured at a national level throughout its history;
with anywhere from 7-to-15 of the finest players Ray Benson could talk into jumping in the bus to play a string of dates. The alumni roster is well
over 80+ members, and includes an impressive list of musicians who have gone on to perform with artists such as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Lyle
Lovett, Ryan Adams, and many more. A quick scan of awards, such as “Touring Band of the Year” (CMAs, 1976) and “Lifetime Achievement in
Performance” (Americana Music Awards 2009), not to mention near dominance of the GRAMMY “Country Instrumental” category over the years,
re􀏐lects the reputation of the band’s musicianship. Ray Benson fell in love with western swing because of its unique combination of elements of
American blues, swing and traditional Fiddling but also for its demanding musical chops. Western swing is what Benson calls “jazz with a cowboy
hat,” is a thrill to hear live, and thanks in large part to the Wheel’s 40-plus years of promotion, is a living and creative genre of music today.
“Everything this act has ever released is simply spectacular.” - Billboard Magazine (2010)


On the Records & the Road: Over their history, Asleep at The Wheel has earned 10 GRAMMY Awards and released more than 25 studio and live
albums, and there is no sign of slowing down any time soon. The band’s most recent release, Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and
His Texas Playboys, garnered the 2016 GRAMMY Award for Best Recording Package. The critically acclaimed album, named one of Rolling Stone’s
40 Best Country Albums of 2015, is the latest in Asleep at the Wheel’s long-standing tradition of “keeping Western Swing alive for 45 years”
(Wall Street Journal). Featuring 22 acclaimed collaborations, the all-star line up includes legends such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and
George Strait and newcomers like The Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, Old Crow Medicine Show and many other fine talents.


Asleep At The Wheel:

  • RAY BENSON - Guitar
  • KATIE SHORE - Fiddle
  • DENNIS LUDIKER - Fiddle
  • JAY RENOLDS - Horns
  • EDDIE RIVERS- Steel Guitar
  • CONNOR FORSYTH - Piano
  • JOSH HOAG - Bass
  • DAVID SANGER - Drums


Saturday June 1Oth - 8:OO pm - National Grid Main Stage