All of the greats were ahead of their time; Archimedes, Nikola Tesla, The Beatles. The Grateful Dead meshed string band music and rhythm & blues to create an entirely new scene and the Rolling Stones carried a rock and roll torch into stadiums and onto television screens worldwide, but in the world of Americana music and Texas’s cosmic outlaw country, there was one group telling old stories and rallying new fans well before those genres even had a name—Asleep at the Wheel. On October 31st, ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel, a special retrospective of the band’s appearances on public television’s beloved Austin City Limits program will premiere nationwide on PBS. From performing on the series’ very first episode to modern-day collaborations with legends like Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett (in total, the band has appeared on eleven episodes), Asleep at the Wheel have woven a 50-year thread through Texas and American music history, and Austin City Limits played a quite the part in it. Fans can experience the journey right from the beginning this Halloween when ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel airs; more information including a full broadcast schedule is available at acltv.com.
ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel is only the kickoff of a coming year-long celebration of the band’s five-decade milestone. This past week, Asleep at the Wheel’s fearless leader and founder Ray Benson took part in “Thriving Roots,” AMERICANAFEST’s virtual conference, announcing the coming special and screening an hour-long interview and documentary produced by the Texas Music Office for all digital festival attendees to enjoy. Additionally, Benson and Asleep at the Wheel are currently being featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Outlaws and Armadillos exhibit and as part of the Whitliff Collection at Texas State University’s museum.
Fans, new and old, should stay tuned in to asleepatthewheel.com in the coming months because Benson and Asleep at the Wheel are just getting started with their big celebration.
ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel setlist:
“The Letter That Johnny Walker Read” - 1976
"Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” - 1978
“Get Your Kicks on Route 66” - 1996
"Roly Poly" ft. The Texas Playboys - 1993
“Hesitation Blues” ft. Willie Nelson - 2009
“Nothing Takes The Place of You” - 1976
“Blues for Dixie” ft. Lyle Lovett - ACL Hall of Fame 2015
“Let Me Go Home Whiskey” - 1976
“After You’ve Gone” ft. Willie Nelson, Freddy Powers, and Johnny Gimble - 1981
“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love ”- 2015
“Boogie Back to Texas” - 1988
“Milk Cow Blues” - 2015
“Miles and Miles of Texas” - 1996, 2002, and 1980
“Choo Choo Boogie” - 1978, 1988, and 1996
“Pancho and Lefty” ft. Willie Nelson - 2009
“Take Me Back to Tulsa” ft. The Avett Brothers and Vince Gill - 1996, 2015, 1978, and 1976
“Cotton Eye Joe” - 1980