One of the first events I attended in West Plains (home of Porter Wagner and Jan Howard) was the Old-Time Music and Ozark Heritage Festival. The event staff always bring in the best entertainment.. music that takes you back in time for a couple of days.
This year, we were blessed with Texas Swing aficionados, Asleep at the Wheel. These guys have been on my SEE list for years. Having the opportunity to sit down with band leader, Ray Benson, was extra sugar on the funnel cake.
Members: Ray Benson - Lead Guitar and Vocals || Dave Sanger - Drums || Dave Miller - Bass and Vocals || Eddie Rivers - Steel and Sax || Katie Shore - Fiddle and Vocals || Connor Forsyth - Piano and Vocals II Jay Reynolds - Sax and Clarinet || Dennis Ludiker - Fiddle and Mandolin
I've heard that if you're gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band. Asleep at the Wheel has that covered.. with Katie Shore and Dennis Ludiker:
Dennis won 2nd Place in the Texas State Fiddle Competition in Halletsville TX this year. After watching this guy, I have to wonder how he could have been beat. There's always next year!
Every classic country band worth its salt (in my opinion) must have a steel. That's where Eddie
Rivers comes in. He also blows a pretty mean Sax:
Rounding out the band are: (sorry, no decent pics)
Dave Sanger (drummers really need to be out front more), Dave Miller, Connor Forsyth and Jay Reynolds.
The concert was everything I expected from Asleep at the Wheel. They deliver in spades an amazing show that kept the crowd entertained from the first note as Ray Benson stepped on stage, to the last note of the encore. While this was a free show, thanks to the hard-working festival folks, I would pay to see these guys again... repeatedly. There are multiple reasons Asleep At The Wheel has been entertaining folks for over forty years but performance has to be the top. There is magic on that stage.
A big thanks to PJ for his assistance getting the interview and the little extras that made this a very memorable evening.
Since West Plains is just a short drive off the path of The Mother Road, I thought I'd leave you with a sample of the concert. Y'all get the opportunity to hear Asleep at the Wheel in person, go! You will not be disappointed.
You can catch up with Asleep at the wheel on various social media sights: