What could possibly be more Austin iconic than breakfast tacos, bats and barbecue? Asleep at the Wheel is what.
Since 1974, the Grammy Award winning band has called Austin home and kept the sound of country western swing alive. Led by local legend Ray Benson, Asleep at the Wheel appeared on the first official episode of the first season of Austin City Limits TV in 1975.
2015 is poised to be another banner year for the band with an epic album release, induction to the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame and their 11th appearance on the Austin City Limits show 40 years after recording the first official episode.
Carrying Country Western Swing into the 21st Century
Asleep at the Wheel has been playing a lively version of country western swing for the past 45 years and just released another album titled Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. The album is another tribute to “The King of Western Swing” legend Bob Wills, who popularized country western swing in Texas and around the country.
Still the King features a cast of performers from multiple genres including The Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Earl Keen and many others. “What excites me about our new album Still The King is that we are turning on new generations to the music of Bob Wills AND Asleep at the Wheel and bringing new versions and interpretations of this great music to fans of Asleep at the Wheel, Bob Wills and western swing,” says Benson of the album, which was released yesterday.
Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Induction
In 2014 to commemorate the 40th season of the Austin City Limits television series, Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was created to honor artists and individuals who have made the TV series a success. Last year’s honorees included Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Bill Arhos, the show’s original creator.
This year Asleep at the Wheel will be inducted at a ceremony in June at Austin’s ACL Live at the Moody Theater. The event will be open to the public with ticket information to be released later in the year. Of the induction, Ray Benson tells The Austinot, “The significance of the induction to the hall of fame is the fact that after 45 years we are still a functioning and viable music act that has not only an important past, but a bright future too.”
The Austin City Limits television show is a point of pride for our city. So when a hometown favorite makes an appearance, it’s quite an occasion. “Felt like deja vu all over again!” Benson said of the group’s 11th ACL TV appearance on February 24, 2015. “Really though, it was a bit emotional. So much of my life is intertwined with ACL, personal and professional. It really felt like home to me!”
Forty years after recording their first ACL episode, Asleep at the Wheel received a hearty welcome from fans spanning multiple generations. This particular night, they shared the stage with The Avett Brothers, Amos Lee and the Quebe Sisters to play some of the music off their new album. They also played fan favorites like “Miles and Miles of Texas,” “Route 66” and “Big Balls in Cowtown.” The result was an evening with a lively crowd, great music and dancing. Fortunately, you can catch a recording of the show later this year on KLRU and you can have your own dance party at home.
If you’re a fan of Asleep at the Wheel, don’t miss them on KLRU later this year and try to snag a ticket to their induction event in June. And if you weren’t familiar with the group before, it’s time to get out your boots and find Asleep at the Wheel on YouTube or iTunes.
Visit the ACL TV website to learn how you can get tickets to the ACL Hall of Fame event in June and attend other ACL Live tapings.
@edwinxavierocho wants to know:
What’s your favorite Asleep at the Wheel song?