Asleep at the Wheel to release new tribute to Bob Wills
Asleep at the Wheel has always been quick to sing the praises of Bob Wills, but it'll do so in a whole different way (again) with the upcoming album, "Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys."
The aforementioned project will role out March 3, 2015 on Bismeaux Records, and is the Texas swing band's third salute to the late King of Western swing, following 1993's "Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys," and 1999's "A Ride With Bob." With 22 tracks on the upcoming project, "Still the King" will include Wills signatures like "Trouble in Mind," "Time Changes Everything" and "Faded Love" … just to name a few.
Asleep at the Wheel gets plenty of company on this album, including the Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pokey LaFarge and Kat Edmonson, all rising stars. Then there are the bigger names chipping in like George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, Merle Haggard, Buddy Miller, Vince Gill's Time Jumpers and so many more.
Beyond "Still the King," Ray Benson told Rolling Stone he already has another giant of Texas music in mind for his next project. He intends on recording a tribute to the bluesman T-Bone Walker. "I see it being a Nat King Cole-Natalie Cole 'Unforgettable' kind of thing with every great contemporary rock and blues guitarist," he said. "Steve, Billy Gibbons, Jimmie Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Duke Robillard. Anybody who's into it, I'll welcome 'em in. Give me a couple of years and I'll make that happen."
Hear "A LIttle Piece" of Ray Benson
He's practically a Texas musical institution and has been the longtime frontman of the legendary Western Swing band Asleep at the Wheel. But Ray Benson's latest musical project, which dropped January 21, just happens to be a solo endeavor with a friend or two along for the ride.
If you've heard the aforementioned album, you'll know that Benson duets with none other than Willie Nelson on the tune "It Ain't You," which puts a little twang on the project called "A Little Piece." The song is a Waylon Jennings/Gary Nicholson composition (there's the name-dropping again) that had never been recorded. The album also includes the haunting "Killed by a .45," and a cover of Randy Newman's "Marie."
Benson produced the album with son Sam Seifert and Lloyd Maines, using a backing band that included Asleep at the Wheel co-founder Floyd Domino, along with longtime Wheel drummer Dave Sanger and bassist Glenn Fukunaga. Consider it a warmup to the band's upcoming third tribute album to the King of Western Swing Bob Wills, which is due out this fall.
In the meantime, Benson and Asleep at the Wheel are plenty busy. Their ambitious tour schedule is not only booked through 2014, they've already got dates penciled in for 2015 (including The Country Music Cruise in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida). A mini-documentary was also recently released which "chronicles the improbable four-decade transformation" of the band into 9 time Grammy winners and cultural icons.
Asleep at the Wheel the Kings of Texas Swing (Updated January 16, 2013)
Their name may not hold the same weight as bands like Alabama, The Eagles or even The Oak Ridge Boys. But Asleep at the Wheel has been a rare force in the music industry since the 1970's, helping to preserve the classic sounds of country and western swing.
Formed in Paw Paw, West Virginia in 1969 by Ray Benson and Lucky Oceans, Asleep at the Wheel needed just one mention in Rolling Stone magazine to land its first record deal. Their debut album, "Comin' Right at Ya," bowed in 1973. The following year they were on the road (again) at the request of Willie Nelson and put down roots in Austin, Texas.
It wasn't long after their move to the Lone Star State that Asleep at the Wheel was doing the "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" right up the country charts. It was their first single to hit the country charts, followed by their highest charting release, "The Letter That Johnny Walker Read." By 1977, the band was voted Best Country Western Band by Rolling Stone Magazine and was awarded the Touring Band of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.
Even as time passed and pop stars and crossover artists worked their way into country music, Asleep at the Wheel remained relevant. In 2000, they were nominated by the Country Music Association for Vocal Event of the Year for "Roly Poly" with the Dixie Chicks. In 2009, the group collaborated with the Nelson to release "Willie and the Wheel." It was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Americana Album.
Asleep at the Wheel has earned numerous awards throughout their career. Most notably, the group was given The Texas Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. They are still one of the household names in country music, and have a full slate of tour dates booked for 2013. "A Ride With Bob," a musical about the life of Bob Wills, plays the Zach Topfer Theatre in Austin through February 24. The band also has private and public dates booked through August.
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date city state venue 2/20/2015 Dallas TX The Kessler Theater 3/1/2015 Annapolis MD Rams Head On Stage 3/2/2015 Philadelphia PA World Cafe Live 3/4/2015 New York NY New York Society for Ethical Culture 3/6/2015 Fall River MA Narrows Center for the Arts 3/10/2015 Alexandria VA Birchmere Music Hall 3/11/2015 Cincinnati OH Taft Theatre 3/12/2015 Chicago IL City Winery - Chicago 3/21/2015 Kent OH The Kent Stage 3/22/2015 Cincinnati OH Taft Theatre 3/24/2015 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 3/24/2015 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 3/27/2015 Nashville TN Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum 3/28/2015 Charlotte NC Neighborhood Theatre 4/1/2015 Durham NC Carolina Theatre 4/16/2015 Dallas TX Dallas Arboretum 4/17/2015 Kansas City MO Knuckleheads Saloon 4/30/2015 New Braunfels TX Gruene Hall 5/1/2015 New Braunfels TX Gruene Hall 5/2/2015 Spring TX The Centrum 5/17/2015 San Francisco CA Slims 5/18/2015 Napa CA City Winery - Napa 5/21/2015 San Luis Obispo CA SLO Brewing Co. 5/25/2015 Phoenix AZ Musical Instrument Museum 6/21/2015 Bloomington IL The Castle Theatre 6/25/2015 Ridgefield CT Ridgefield Playhouse 6/26/2015 Sellersville PA Sellersville Theater
date city state venue 1/26/2014 Vienna VA Jammin Java 2/8/2014 Richardson TX Eisemann Center 2/21/2014 New Braunfels TX Gruene Hall 2/22/2014 New Braunfels TX Gruene Hall 3/5/2014 Verona NY Turning Stone Casino 3/6/2014 Norfolk CT Infinity Hall 3/7/2014 Alexandria VA Birchmere Music Hall 3/21/2014 Orlando FL Plaza Theatre 3/23/2014 Aberdeen NC The Rooster's Wife 4/25/2014 Indio CA Empire Polo Field 4/25/2014 Indio CA Empire Polo Field 4/27/2014 Indio CA Empire Polo Field 5/7/2014 Napa CA City Winery - Napa 5/8/2014 Sacramento CA Harlows Night Club 5/10/2014 Fresno CA Tower Theatre 5/11/2014 Oakland CA The New Parish 6/5/2014 Kansas City MO Knuckleheads Saloon 6/7/2014 Arlington TX AT&T Stadium 7/2/2014 Boise ID Egyptian Theatre 7/3/2014 Spokane WA Bing Crosby Theater 7/5/2014 Grants Pass OR Rogue Theatre 7/6/2014 Portland OR Alberta Rose Theatre 7/7/2014 Seattle WA Jazz Alley 7/19/2014 Columbia MO The Blue Note 7/20/2014 Chicago IL City Winery - Chicago 7/20/2014 Chicago IL City Winery - Chicago 8/1/2014 Dallas TX The Kessler Theater 8/1/2014 Dallas TX The Kessler Theater 8/15/2014 Colorado Springs CO Stargazers Theater 8/21/2014 Solana Beach CA Belly Up Tavern 8/26/2014 Livermore CA Bankhead Theater 8/27/2014 Bakersfield CA Buck Owens Crystal Palace 8/28/2014 St George UT Eccles Fine Arts Center 8/29/2014 Scottsdale AZ Talking Stick Resort 9/7/2014 Alexandria VA Birchmere Music Hall 9/10/2014 Ottawa ON Hog's Back Park 9/11/2014 Shirley MA Bull Run Restaurant 9/14/2014 Ottawa ON Ottawa Folk Festival 9/18/2014 Annapolis MD Rams Head On Stage 9/21/2014 Buffalo NY Sportsmen's Tavern 9/27/2014 Agoura Hills CA Canyon Club 10/3/2014 Austin TX Zilker Park 10/16/2014 Dallas TX Dallas Arboretum 11/11/2014 Berkeley CA Freight & Salvage 11/12/2014 Redding CA Cascade Theatre 11/13/2014 Snoqualmie WA Snoqualmie Casino 11/15/2014 Carmel CA Sunset Center 11/16/2014 St George UT Eccles Fine Arts Center 12/19/2014 Beaumont TX Jerry Nelson's Hill Country and The Backyard Music Hall
date city state venue 1/4/2013 Norman OK Sooner Theatre 1/11/2013 Houston TX Private Function 1/23/2013 Weirsdale FL Orange Blossom Opry 2/9/2013 Galveston TX Mardi Gras Galveston 2/13/2013 Andrews TX Ace Arena 2/16/2013 Andrews TX Andrews County Expo Arena 3/1/2013 Richardson TX Eisemann Center 3/9/2013 Cartersville GA Grand Theatre 3/24/2013 Lafayette LA Grant Street Dancehall 3/29/2013 The Woodlands TX Dosey Doe Coffee House 4/25/2013 Dallas TX Dallas Arboretum 4/27/2013 Cuero TX Private Function 4/28/2013 Austin TX Private 5/1/2013 San Antonio TX Private Function 5/8/2013 Stanhope NJ Stanhope House 5/17/2013 Sellersville PA Sellersville Theater 1894 6/3/2013 Austin TX Private 6/7/2013 Saint Louis MO Blueberry Hill 6/28/2013 Tulsa OK Cain's Ballroom 7/15/2013 Austin TX Private Function 7/28/2013 Santa Ynez CA Ranch and Reata Roadhouse 7/28/2013 Santa Ynez CA Ranch and Reata Roadhouse 7/30/2013 Bakersfield CA Buck Owens Crystal Palace 8/10/2013 Telluride CO Sheridan Opera House 8/24/2013 Franklin TN Franklin Theatre 8/29/2013 Carbondale CO Performing Arts Center 8/30/2013 Arvada CO Arvada Center 9/8/2013 Austin TX Long Center for the Performing Arts 10/11/2013 Austin TX Zilker Park 10/29/2013 Ponte Vedra Beach FL Ponte Vedra Concert Hall 11/15/2013 Austin TX ACL Live at The Moody Theater 12/14/2013 Arlington TX Arlington Music Hall 12/21/2013 Galveston TX Grand 1894 Opera House 12/29/2013 Jackson WY Pink Garter Theatre
date city state venue 2/10/2012 Wichita KS The Cotillion 2/15/2012 Phoenix AZ Rhythm Room 4/13/2012 Milwaukee WI Potawatomi Bingo Casino 5/6/2012 New Orleans LA New Orleans City Park 6/3/2012 Portland OR Aladdin Theater 6/6/2012 Grants Pass OR Rogue Theatre 7/19/2012 Sacramento CA Harlows Night Club 8/19/2012 Arvada CO Arvada Center 8/22/2012 Phoenix AZ Crescent Ballroom 8/23/2012 Santa Ynez CA Ranch and Reata Roadhouse 9/14/2012 Dallas TX The Kessler Theater 9/15/2012 Sherman TX Kidd-Key Auditorium 9/26/2012 Buffalo NY Sportsmen's Tavern 9/27/2012 Troy NY Troy Savings Bank Music Hall 9/28/2012 Westbury NY NYCB Theatre at Westbury 9/29/2012 Chester PA Harrahs Chester Casino & Racetrack 9/30/2012 Alexandria VA Birchmere Music Hall 10/2/2012 Londonderry NH Tupelo Music Hall 10/3/2012 Fryeburg ME Fryeburg Fair 10/6/2012 New Braunfels TX Gruene Hall 10/12/2012 Austin TX Zilker Park 10/12/2012 Austin TX Zilker Park 10/13/2012 Ruidoso Downs NM Ruidoso Downs 10/14/2012 Albuquerque NM Route 66 Casino 10/19/2012 Tulsa OK Tulsa Community College - Vantrease Pace 10/20/2012 Tulsa OK Tulsa Community College - Vantrease Pace 10/27/2012 Canadian TX Texas Crown Performance Hall 11/3/2012 Carrollton TX Downtown Carrollton 11/6/2012 Green Bay WI Oneida Casino Pavilion 11/7/2012 Green Bay WI Oneida Casino Pavilion 11/16/2012 Orange Park FL Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts 11/18/2012 Orlando FL Plaza Theatre 11/30/2012 Wichita KS The Cotillion 12/6/2012 Fort Worth TX Casa Manana 12/13/2012 Abilene TX Abilene Civic Center 12/15/2012 Fredericksburg TX Luckenbach Dance Hall 12/20/2012 Austin TX Paramount Theatre 12/21/2012 Austin TX Paramount Theatre 12/22/2012 Stateline NV Harrah's Lake Tahoe 12/26/2012 Los Angeles CA The Mint 12/30/2012 The Woodlands TX Dosey Doe
date city state venue 3/4/2011 Red Bank NJ Count Basie Theatre 3/5/2011 Fairfield CT Quick Center for the Arts 3/9/2011 New York NY B.B. King Blues Club & Grill 3/10/2011 Stroudsburg PA Sherman Theater 3/25/2011 Phoenix AZ Rhythm Room 4/14/2011 Wilmington DE World Cafe Live at the Queen 4/22/2011 Duluth GA Wild Bill's 9/10/2011 Webster MA Indian Ranch 9/16/2011 Austin TX Zilker Park 9/16/2011 Austin TX Zilker Park 9/28/2011 Ann Arbor MI The Ark 10/17/2011 Austin TX Frank Erwin Center 12/17/2011 Austin TX Paramount Theatre
date city state venue 1/30/2010 Chandler AZ Chandler Center for the Arts 5/7/2010 Austin TX Nutty Brown Cafe 6/26/2010 Houston TX House of Blues - Houston 8/1/2010 Evanston IL SPACE 8/2/2010 Evanston IL SPACE 9/3/2010 Du Quoin IL Duquoin State Fair 9/4/2010 Fort Worth TX Billy Bob's Texas
date city state venue 10/24/2009 Nashville IN Little Nashville Opry