Ray Benson is the front man of the Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel….as well as an actor and voice actor….who formed Asleep at the Wheel with friends Lucky Oceans and Leroy Preston in 1970…. who relocated to Austin in 1973 after a suggestion from Willie Nelson….and since then, the group has released more than 20 albums and earned 9 Grammy awards….even though the band’s lineup has changed greatly over the years….as about 90 folks have been a part of Asleep at the Wheel at some point or another….while Benson has always remained at the helm as the band’s driving force.
In addition to his work with Asleep at the Wheel, Benson is also an accomplished producer whose credits include albums by Dale Watson, Suzy Bogguss, Aaron Watson, James Hand and Carolyn Wonderland…. plus single tracks for Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Brad Paisley, Pam Tillis, Trace Adkins, Merle Haggard, and Vince Gill….then in 2003, Benson released his first solo album entitled Beyond Time.
Benson is also a founding member of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation….which raises money to help aging R&B artists….and is a member of the board of directors of the SIMS Foundation….which provides low-cost mental health services to Austin musicians and their families. He is also a trustee for the Texas chapter of NARAS….a board member of St Davids Community Health Foundation….and a board member and founding member of Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM).
In this video herewith, Ray Benson & Asleep At The Wheel are joined by the one and only,Willie Nelson, along with legendary fiddler Johnny Gimble and Austin’s clarinet virtuoso John Mills….while playing two Django Reinhardt classics “I Don’t Mind” and “After You’ve Gone” live on stage at Austin City Limits in 1980.