Fifty years ago—before Americana or outlaw or cosmic country ever had a name—Ray Benson and his band Asleep at the Wheel were carrying the torch of some of America’s favorite music into the future with fiery live shows, droves of followers, and a mainstream swing sound all their own. Fast forward five decades to find Benson and crew still bearing that torch, albeit with quite a few more fans and albums under their belt. To begin the celebration of its 50th anniversary, Asleep at the Wheel is releasing some new music ahead of a quick jaunt through Texas and Missouri this June—an appetizer of sorts for what’s to come from their momentous anniversary year. On May 28th, the band will release a three-song EP dubbed The Better Times, produced by Benson for Bismeaux Records. Benson takes the lead vocal on the title track, a hopeful original written while riding out the pandemic. Asleep at the Wheel vocalist and fiddler Katie Shore sings “All I’m Asking,” a rousing request to get back together, written by Band of Heathens’ Ed Jurdi and Gordi Quist. Meanwhile, Benson and Shore harmonize on “Columbus Stockade Blues,” a traditional tune arranged in the spirit of Willie Nelson and Shirley Collie’s 1960s version.
Once The Better Times is out in the world, Asleep at the Wheel will be hitting the road to celebrate—not just the EP, but the fact that they’re able to tour again—with a run of shows that will take them from Texas’s legendary Gruene Hall on May 29th, up through Texas to Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri, and back down to College Station to end the run on June 20th. A full list of tour dates can be found below and ticket information can be found online at asleepatthewheel.com/tour.
Additionally, Asleep at the Wheel fans are highly encouraged to stay tuned as the band gets further along into their 50th anniversary year—2021 has more exciting announcements in store.
Catch Asleep at the Wheel On Tour:
May 29 - Gruene Hall - Gruene, Texas
June 3 - Birdsong Amphitheater - Stephenville, Texas
June 5 - Starlight Ranch Event Center - Amarillo, Texas
June 6 - Cactus Theater - Lubbock, Texas
June 10 - Rose Music Hall - Columbia, Missouri
June 11 - The Sheldon - St. Louis, Missouri
June 19 - Buck’s Backyard - Buda, Texas
June 20 - Rudder Auditorium - College Station, Texas
More about Asleep at the Wheel: Founded in 1970, Asleep at the Wheel has been part of the American roots music landscape for more than 50 years. Although the band got its start on a farm in Paw Paw, West Virginia, Asleep at the Wheel became a cornerstone of the Austin, Texas, scene upon its arrival in 1973. Inspired by Western swing and honky-tonk country, the band has received 10 GRAMMY® Awards, was cited by the Country Music Association as the 1976 Touring Band of the Year, and was given the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Americana Music Association. They have released 31 albums and charted more than 20 singles on the country charts.