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Asleep at the Wheel

Asleep at the Wheel is an American country music group that was formed in Paw Paw, West Virginia and is based in Austin, Texas. The band has won nine Grammy Awards since their 1970 inception, released over twenty albums, and has charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard country charts. Their highest-charting single, "The Letter That Johnny Walker Read", peaked at No. 10 in 1975.


Background information From Wikipedia, the free enzyclopedia


Beginnings to Austin

In 1969, Ray Benson and Lucky Oceans (Reuben Gosfield) co-founded Asleep at the Wheel in Paw Paw, West Virginia, and soon after they found themselves opening for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna in Washington, DC. A year later, they moved to East Oakland, California, at the invitation of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. After being mentioned in Rolling Stone magazine by Van Morrison, they landed a record deal with United Artists. In 1973, their debut album, "Comin' Right At Ya", was released by United Artists. At the request of Willie Nelson, they left Oakland for Austin in 1974.

1974 - 1979

In 1974, they released their second album, "Asleep at the Wheel", with a cover of Louis Jordan's "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie", which was their first single to hit the country charts. The following year had the release of "Texas Gold" as the group's third album with the top-ten Country hit single "The Letter That Johnny Walker Read". In addition, they played on PBS's Austin City Limits, where they have since performed a recordsetting 10 times. In 1977, the band was voted Best Country Western Band by Rolling Stone and was awarded the Touring Band of the Year by the Academy of Country Music. They also went on tour with Emmylou Harris in Europe. The following year, they made a cover of Count Basie's song "One O'Clock Jump". Also in 1980, they appeared in the movie Roadie, along with Meat Loaf, Blondie, and Art Carney. By the end of the decade, the band recorded their first live album, "Served Live", at the Austin Opera House.

1980 - 1989

The 1980s became a turbulent decade for the band. After moving to MCA, co-founder Lucky Oceans left the band, and Chris O'Connell left in September 1986 due to her pregnancy. Asleep at the Wheel gathered a large amount of debt that required them to work on commercials and movie soundtracks. This band produced the soundtrack for the film Liar's Moon.


In 1985, the band released a virtually ignored self-titled album. By the late 1980s, Ray Benson had done some producing, allowing the band a second chance with Epic Records. In 1987, the band released "10", which won them their second Grammy for Best Country Instrumental, helping to launch their comeback. The album also had contributions from legendary fiddle player and onetime Texas Playboys member Johnny Gimble. The following year, the band released "Western Standard Time", which won them another Grammy for Best Country Instrumental. The late 1980s also had the growth of Jann Browne as a solo vocalist in the group; she would later embark on a solo career on Curb Records.

1990 - 1999

The band moved to Arista Records and released the album, "Keepin' Me Up Nights". Soon after, the band had turnover as old members left and new members entered. Among them was former solo singer Rosie Flores, who joined in 1997. In 1991, Ray Benson directed the music and co-starred in the movie Wild Texas Wind with Dolly Parton. In honor of the 66th anniversary of Route 66, the band launched the Route 66 Tour. In 1993, the band released the instant hit "A Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys" to much critical acclaim with several guest musicians. Two years later, the band celebrated their 25th anniversary by releasing "The Wheel Keeps on Rollin". In 1999, the band and DreamWorks released "Ride with Bob", as their second tribute album to Bob Wills. This album became an instant hit and garnered the band two Grammy wins, one for Best Country Instrumental, and the other for Best Package Design.


According to Rolling Stone magazine, Ray Benson "didn't just enlist the obvious Wills fans" in this tribute album to Bob Wills like Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and Lyle Lovett. He also brought in some of country's young lions the Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, and Lee Ann Womack, some pop stars", including Shawn Colvin, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and fellow country preservationists such as Dwight Yoakam

2000 and onward

In 2000, the Dixie Chicks were nominated for an award for Vocal Event of the Year for "Roly Poly" with Asleep at the Wheel from the Country Music Association. That same year, the band toured with Bob Dylan and George Strait. Benson recorded a tribute to "Wills and Texas swing music", including Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, the Dixie Chicks, and Willie Nelson. They were scheduled to play at the White House on the fateful September 11, 2001. In 2003, the band released "Live at Billy Bob's Texas", and by the end of the decade, the band had released two more albums: "Reinventing the Wheel", an entirely new set of songs, including a collaboration with The Blind Boys of Alabama, and a two-disc set "Kings of Texas Swing". In 2007, their second Christmas album was released, "Santa Loves to Boogie".

Asleep at the Wheel received six Austin Music Awards for their efforts in 2007, including Band of the Year, Songwriter of the Year (Benson), Country Band of the Year, Record Producer of the Year (Benson), Male Vocals of the Year (Benson), and Acoustic Guitar Player of the Year (McQueen).

"The Letter That Johnny Walker Read" is played on the K-Rose radio station in the 2004 PlayStation 2 video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Asleep at the Wheel among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.


Current members

●Ray Benson

●Katie Shore

●Eddie Rivers

●David Sanger

●Dennis Ludiker

●Josh Hoag

●Connor Forsyth

●Jay Reynolds


Former members

●Tim Alexander

●Tommy Beavers

●Bobby Black

●Chris Booher 

●Jann Browne

●Richard Casanova

●Cindy Cashdollar

●Gene Dobkin

●Floyd Domino

●John Ely

●Falkner Evans

●Richard Fitzhugh

●Rosie Flores

●Michael Francis

●Larry Franklin

●Tony Garnier

●Emily Gimble

●Kenny LeMasters (Lesmeister) ●Scott Hennige

●Daniel Levin

●Billy Mabry

●Elizabeth McQueen

●David Earl Miller

●Jim Murphy

●Wally Murphy

●Johnny Nicholas

●Lucky Oceans

●Chris O'Connell

●LeRoy Preston

●Maryanne Price

●Jason Roberts

●Hal Singer

●Buddy Spicher

●Wes Starr

●Haydn Vitera

●Ed Vizard

●John Whitby


Album covers


Videos, Downloads

*Immanuel Kant


Created: 20171107

Updated: 20180317 | 20180804 | 20180927 | 20190905

Wikipedia: This page was last edited on 29 June 2019, at 17:18 (UTC).