Ray Benson is a legend whose band, Asleep at the Wheel has carried the torch for western swing music for over four decades. He's introduced this fun, unique brand of music to fans throughout the world, and shows no sign of stopping now. As Ray prepares to visit Abilene for a special fundraising performance with the Abilene ISD Orchestra, fiddle group, Revolution on December 13th at the Abilene Civic Center, he took some time to talk with us.

In the time we had together, we talked about the concert, which Ray is very excited to be a part of."It’s great because I played in the orchestra in high school. I played bass fiddle and I played tuba. They only gave the big guys the tuba, you know...I loved doing it. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the games and the things that are so important to the development of kids include music. Whether or not they’re going to become professional musicians…it’s so important to a rounded education…and of course being able to travel to somewhere like China and experience that is amazing for young adults.".

Ray Benson Interview - Segment 1


I asked Benson about the state of western swing music, and whether there were bands coming up to pass the torch that Asleep at the Wheel has carried for over 4 decades, and he said, "Oh yeah, oh absolutely…the Quebe [Sisters] are incredible out of Burleson, there’s the Marshall Ford Swing Band, Hot Club of Cow Town…there’s bands all over the country and in Europe that are embracing the music. I don’t think it’s ever gonna put Lady Gaga out of business, but it’s certainly, in Texas, Oklahoma, and the southwest is thriving well…and it’s really neat". He also talked about an Asleep at the Wheel documentary that's in the works:

 Ray Benson Interview - Segment 2


I asked Ray if there’s anything on his ‘bucket list’, and he was quick to mention one thing that he’s very interested in. "What I’d love to do", says Benson, "and it’s a huge project, don’t know if I’ll ever get it done. That is the theatrical story of Bob Wills. We do the Bob Wills play ‘A Ride With Bob’, and it’s been such a success…I’d love to do the movie, the story of Bob Wills.". He also took a moment to send a message to the kids he'll be playing with on December 13th. "Tell those kids to practice, practice, practice."

 Ray Benson Interview - Segment 3


What a great guy. Get all the details on the Asleep at the Wheel/Abilene ISD Orchestra concert here, and get your tickets to what promises to be an excellent show.

Here's Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel performing 'Hot Rod Lincoln':