We spoke with the leader of the iconic country group about the PBS premiere of “ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep At the Wheel.”
Ray Benson and Asleep At the Wheel were American way before Americana was cool. Heck, they were Americana before anybody really knew what Americana was.
The iconic country band has been around since 1970, and has been appearing on the PBS series Austin City Limits almost as long. So it’s altogether fitting that, as Benson and the rest of the band celebrate their golden anniversary, they’re being celebrated by the show where they’ve been welcome since the very first episode. ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep At the Wheel is set to air Oct. 31 — yep, Halloween night — on PBS stations nationwide.
“I've been told that I’m relentless, so I guess I am,” Benson says. “I’m just doing what I believe I’m meant to do — I’m singing and playing and writing better than I ever have. My role and concept of leading a band has never changed. It’s gathering the best musicians I can find or convince to play to the best of their ability, and I just try to make the best decisions possible and kick some ass every night onstage. I’ve made it this far and don’t feel like I or the band will be slowing down anytime soon.”
Here is our Facebook Chat with Ray Benson.
And while you’re waiting for the Saturday telecast, here’s a preview of ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep At the Wheel with Benson and Austin City Limits host Terry Lickona.
And here's a blast from the past, when Asleep At the Wheel was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame in 2015.