Still “Comin’ Right At Ya!” – Celebrating 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel
The number of individual artists and bands who have sustained a thriving career for a half century is infinitesimally small. Against all odds, Asleep At the Wheel is one of these.
The stars aligned in 1970 when three friends Ray Benson, Lucky Oceans, and Leroy Preston moved to Paw Paw, West Virginia (it’s not a made-up place, you can look it up). It was there that their dream began of forming a band to play old-style Roots/Americana music, long before the genre/movement even had a name.
Asleep at the Wheel has received 10 GRAMMY® Awards, was cited by the Country Music Association as 1976 Touring Band of the Year, and was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Americana Music Association in 2009.
They have released 31 albums, charted more than 20 singles on the country charts. Billboard commented on the band’s catalog most succinctly: “Everything this act has ever released is simply spectacular.” Most recently, Asleep at the Wheel has been invigorated by a fresh new lineup and the release of New Routes, their latest album that is a bracing blend of original songs and vibrant cover material along with some new musical tangents.
Asleep At the Wheel demonstrates convincingly that they are more relevant, enjoyable, and musically nimble than at any time in their 50-year history. Ray Benson has been the one constant in the band since 1970. He notes, “I’m singing, playing, and writing better than ever. I’ve made it this far and don’t feel like I or the band will be slowing down anytime soon.”