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. Today, the band released a three-song EP dubbed 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. Click here to listen or purchase Better Times, of which the Austin-American Statesman earmarked in their “On The Record” column today.
Now that 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 - Fox Theatre - St. Louis, Missouri
June 19 - Buck’s Backyard - Buda, Texas
June 20 - Brazos Valley expo - Bryan, TX
June 22 - Saxon Pub (Ray Benson solo) - Austin, TX
July 8 - The Birchmere - Alexandria, VA
July 9 - Red Wing Music Festival - Mt. Solon, VA
July 10 - Musikfest Cafe - Bethlehem, PA
July 16 - The Flying Monkey - Plymouth, NH
July 17 - Center for the Arts Natick - Natick, MA
July 20 - Center for the Arts Homer - Homer, NY
July 23 - Stone Mountain Arts Center - Brownfield, ME
July 30 - Red River Station BBQ - Saint Jo, TX
Aug. 22 - The Pub Station - Billings, MT
Aug. 25 - Edmonds Center for the Arts - Edmonds, WA