Nine Grammys. Stands 6’7”. Leader of the band for 30 years.
Numbers work in Ray Benson’s favor. His legendary band, Asleep at the Wheel, helped to put Austin music on the map in the 1970s, when it was mostly centered around one spot: the Armadillo World Headquarters. In the decades since, he’s enjoyed working with many of the great musicians of our time: Willie, Dolly, Dylan, and the Chicks.
Beyond Time, the post-modern King of Swing’s just-released first solo album, comes 45 years he wrote his first song. About the new album that contains almost entirely self-penned songs, he says, “we’re just dealin’ with 12 notes and a language of words and poetry.” As if a life full of music and adulation weren’t enough, Benson has been designated the 2004 Texas State Musician by the Texas House of Representatives. He is also very involved locally with the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and the St. David’s Foundation. We spoke with him during a recent recording session.