The enduringly popular country and Western Swing band has released the title cut from their upcoming album.
Ray Benson of Asleep At the Wheel — the iconic country and Western Swing band now celebrating its 50th anniversary — takes inspiration where he can find it. And when he’s found it, it doesn’t take long for him to make good use of it.
On Oct. 1, Asleep At the Wheel will release a brand new album — Half a Hundred Years —featuring classic and new songs, including many performed with such old friends as Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, George Strait, Lee Ann Womack, and Lyle Lovett. According to Benson, the album’s title and title track come from a casual comment made by Jamey Johnson as they conversed at Austin City Limits. “I told him ‘Ya know, it’s Asleep at the Wheel’s 50th anniversary,” Benson says. “He looked at me and said, ‘That’s half a hundred years!’” The comment sparked something in Benson’s songwriting imagination — so he went home and, well, started writing.
“I was trying to get across the sacrifices you have to make in 50 years on the road and the other positive side of it,” Benson says. “The great experiences, the places I’ve been, and all the amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to meet and play music with.
“I’m the reason Asleep At the Wheel is still together after all this time, but the reason it’s popular is because we’ve had the greatest singers and players. When someone joins the band, I say, ‘Learn everything that’s ever been done, then put your own stamp on it.’ I love to hear how they interpret what we do. I’m just a singer and a songwriter, and a pretty good guitar player, but my best talent is convincing people to jump on board and play this music.”
Last fall, we had a Facebook Chat with Benson, which you can view here.
And here is the premiere of the irresistibly jubilant music video for the title track from Half a Hundred Years. Go for the nostalgia, stick around for the top-tapping exuberance.