Archive for the ‘Willie and the Wheel’ Category

More from Willie and the Wheel

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010


 Willie and the Wheel

Ray Benson, of Asleep at the Wheel, called in to talk with Bill Mack on Willie’s Place, Sirius/XM Radio today.  He told Bill that he and Willie were going to go into the studios in April to begin recording another Willie and the Wheel album.

Willie and the Wheel, ‘Hesitation Blues’

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Best Music of 2009: Willie and the Wheel

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009


 Willie and the Wheel

by Jim Harrington
Oakland Tribune
www.mercurynews.com

3.    “Willie and the Wheel,” Willie Nelson and Asleep At the Wheel (Bismeaux): The country legend just doesn’t make many wrong steps. Nelson follows last year’s best musical surprise — the jazzy collaboration with Wynton Marsalis, “Two Men with the Blues” — with another delightful left turn. Nelson sounds so good on this batch of classic Western swing cuts that some fans are already praying for a follow-up.

To read the entire list:
http://www.mercurynews.com/music/ci_14049933?nclick_check=1

Budrock’s Willie and the Wheel Tour Diary

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I don’t know why I never saw this before.  Budrock “Buddy” Prewitt, lighting director for WN&F, made this documentary/ slideshow/ travelogue of the Willie and the Wheel Tour earlier this year.

Willie and the Wheel back on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart

Monday, November 30th, 2009


 Willie and the Wheel

Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheels’ Willie & the Wheel re-enters the chart fray at No. 64.

Watch Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel Austin City Limits Show (2/23/09)

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

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Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel 

WATCH FULL EPISODE ONLINE

From the ACL taping program on February 23, 2009:

Singer-songwriter author, poet and actor, Willie Nelson rose to national stardom during the outlaw country movement of the 1970s, but has remained both a musical and cultural icon through the decades. Since their inception in 1970, Asleep at the Wheel has won nine Grammy Awards, released more than 20 studio albums and have charted more than 20 singles on Billboard’s country charts. Tonight these country legends grace the Austin City Limits stage performing songs from their newest release, Willie and the Wheel.

The concept of Nelson and Ray Benson’s troop recording classic Western swing tunes together goes back to the early 70s, when Willie was on Atlantic Records and championed by legendary producer/A&R man Jerry Wexler. Willie’s tenure with Atlantic was brief and the project didn’t come together until this decade, when a retired and ill Wexler called Benson to revive the idea. Armed with a stack of old LPs donated from Wexler’s personal collection, complete with the initials “WN” penciled in by certain tracks, the musicians completed Willie and the Wheel in time for Wexler to hear it before he passed on.
“Jerry wanted us to do this album and I’m glad we got to do it for him,” said Nelson.

And critics are also glad they decided to do the CD. Willie and the Wheel takes the musicians back their musical roots, making it “hard to listen to the album and not have a smile on your face.” [Listen.com]

“Nelson sounds like an absolute natural in these environs,” The Washington Post wrote. “Asleep at the Wheel’s take on Western swing should be especially interesting to fans of early 20th-century American popular music. Their fidelity to the source material means that traces of jazz swing, ragtime and Dixieland are preserved as if in amber, sounding much as they did in the 30s and 40s.”

Don’t forget: Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel on PBS tomorrow night (11/14/09)

Friday, November 13th, 2009

www.austin360.com
by:  Patrick Caldwell

Need a satisfying way to spend your hours this weekend? KLRU has just the ticket.

The local PBS affiliate will air the long-awaited Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel “Austin City Limits” episode tomorrow at 7 p.m. The country legends teamed up for February’s “Willie and the Wheel,” a toe-tapping tribute to Western swing. The episode was filmed Feb. 23.

Check out this preview from the episode, a peppy take on swing standard “Hesitation Blues.” And when you’re done with that, surf on over to PBS Video, where the original 1974 pilot episode of “Austin City Limits” featuring Nelson is currently streaming. The episode will be available online until Tuesday.

http://www.austin360.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/music/entries/2009/11/13/catch_willie_nelson_at_41_and.html

Willie and the Wheel on Tour, again

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

www.WillieNelson.com  has announced that Willie Nelson will tour with Asleep at the Wheel for several dates this year.

Dec 2, 3, 2009

Desert Diamond Casino
with Asleep at the Wheel

Sahuarita, AZ
Dec 4, 2009

Fantasy Springs Casino
with Asleep at the Wheel

Indio, CA
Dec 5, 2009

Planet Hollywood Resort &
with Asleep at the Wheel

Las Vegas, NV
Dec 6, 2009

San Jose Civic Auditorium
with Asleep at the Wheel

San Jose, CA
Dec 7, 2009

Majestic Fox Theater
with Asleep at the Wheel

Bakersfield, CA
Dec 8, 2009

Club Nokia
with Asleep at the Wheel

Los Angeles, CA
Dec 9, 2009

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plza
with Asleep at the Wheel

Thousand Oaks, CA
Dec 10, 2009

San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino
with Asleep at the Wheel

Highland, CA
Dec 12, 2009

Route 66 Casino
with Asleep at the Wheel

Rio Puerco, NM
Dec 13, 2009

Inn of Mountain Gods Resort
with Asleep at the Wheel

Mescalero, NM
Dec 15, 2009

Austin Music Hall
with Asleep at the Wheel

Austin, TX

*** All dates subject to change.  Always confirm with venue or www.WillieNelson.com.

The making of Willie and the Wheel

Thursday, August 20th, 2009


You can buy it at Amazon Willie and the Wheel

www.alextimes.com
by Joel Fowler

“You couldn’t make this story up if you wanted to,” admits Ray Benson in a recent telephone interview from his home in Austin, “but, it’s beautiful.”

Six years ago, Wexler, the influential man who coined the term “rhythm and blues” and helped discover acts like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, sent Benson a box of old-time country swing compilation albums knowing that they wouldn’t go to waste.

“Jerry called up me and says ‘I’m getting’ old, these things got dust on ’em, and I’m giving away all my records,'” Benson said. “Jerry Wexler was a good friend and a supporter of our music. He ‘got’ what we were trying to do. Jerry was kind of like us – a guy from New York who fell in love with music. Roots, blues, country — [it] didn’t matter.”

Just like every good fairy tale, a little coincidental magic was needed for events to be set into motion. For such an odd story, the mystical flashpoint was just as unusual: public television.

“Then a couple of years ago, Wheel was backing up Willie Nelson, Ray Price and Merle Haggard on their Last of the Breed tour,” Benson said. “Well, one of our shows was filmed as a PBS special, Wexler saw it, and he called up Willie’s manager and said, ‘You gotta do this record!'”

It was an idea that Jerry Wexler had been sitting on for more than 35 years. Wexler started dreaming of pairing Willie Nelson and classic Western swing back in 1973, but after Nelson left Atlantic Records for RCA, the project never took off. The time for redemption had finally arrived.

“So, after the PBS special,” adds Benson, “Jerry tells us to get that list of songs from the box of records he sent me. Sure enough, tucked away in that box was a piece of paper on which he’s written ‘WN’ next to 39 songs, which were the ones he was considering for Willie back in the 70s. Between me, Jerry and Willie, we got the list down to 12, and those are the ones that made up the album.”

While such a project doesn’t sound like a stretch for a professional musician like Nelson, Benson likes to point out that looks can be deceiving.

“Sure, this was the music Willie grew up listening to, but even he didn’t know the particulars of it,” he said. “He’s not a musicologist; he’s a musician. He hadn’t even heard Hesitation Blues or Fan It — before we played them for him. He grew up playing music you could dance to.

“It’s also important to note that [Asleep at the Wheel] finally got good enough to do this record,” claims the native Philadelphian. “In 1973, we wouldn’t have been able to do it, since we’d only been together for three years at that point, and [Wexler] wouldn’t have asked us to do it, because the older guys were still around.

“But then, over the years, we became the old guys,” the 58-year-old adds with a laugh, now that Asleep at the Wheel will celebrate their 40th anniversary next year.

As a final product, Willie and the Wheel, with its daring mix of moody — if not depressing — lyrics and bouncingly happy rhythms, is garnering high critical praise, with terms like “Best of 2009” being thrown around from multiple sources. Yet, for Benson, this record will serve as a final testament for a close friend.

“Jerry passed away a week after the final tracks were finished,” he said. “He got to hear them all before he left us …  He was just an amazing guy.”

Read the entire article here:
http://www.alextimes.com/news/2009/aug/20/dreaming-up-the-perfect-asleep-record/

Monday, August 10th, 2009

janisfill

Janis from Texas took this last January, at the Fillmore, in San Francisco.

Willie and the Wheel: Hesitation Blues

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Asleep at the Wheel   More CMT Music   More CMT Music Videos

Thanks to Patch for sending the link to CMT’s video of Willie Nelson, Mickey Raphael, Ruby Jane, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel playing “Hesitation Blues.”

Heck, yeah! They’re still celebrating Willie Nelson’s birthday in Texas

Friday, May 1st, 2009

spear6 by you.

The party started last week with Captain Kirk presenting Willie Nelson with a birthday cake in Los Angeles, then everyone started some serious celebrating on April 29th, the actual day when Willie was born, a few minutes before midnight.  Then on April 30th, Willie’s official birthday, more people jumped in to wish Willie Nelson happy Birthday.

Willie’s Place on Sirius/XM radio is still celebrating today, with the re-broadcast of the Asleep at the Wheel concert in February.  But don’t turn out the lights, because the party’s not over, as the celebrations continue at Willie’s Place theater, at Carl’s Corner, Texas. 

Yeah, it’s just like Willie to be the one giving, when it’s his birthday, but tomorrow he will give a free concert, along with friend Larry Butler and Ray Price.  Daughter Amy Nelson and her Folk Uke duo partner Cathy Guthrie will perform tomorrow, too.   Daughter Paula Nelson is working at a concert somewhere else in Texas, or she’d be there, too.

willieplace7

It’s going to be a great time!  And I think Sirius/XM Radio will be broadcasting some of the concert live.  This is a great time to subscribe to xm radio, and you can try it for 3-days free at www.xmradio.com/3forfree.

Here’s the post from www.WillieNelson.com

Willie Nelson is celebrating his 76th birthday weekend in style, with a day-long free concert at the Night Life Theater at the Willie’s Place truckstop in Carl’s Corner, TX, and Sirius XM Willie’s Place will be carrying all of the festivities live on the air.

In addition to a set with his band, Willie will be performing songs from the album Memories of Hank Williams Sr. with his long ime friend Larry Butler, and the legendary Ray Price will also be saluting the original Drifting Cowboy with songs from his new album Hank & Me.

Willie’s son Lukas will be sitting in with him, and his daughter Amy Nelson will also on hand with her band Folk Uke, a duo with Arlo Guthrie’s daughter Cathy. And Sirius XM’s own Dallas Wayne will be doing a set including songs from his new album I’ll Take The Fifth, as well as sharing MC duties with The Satellite Cowboy Bill Mack.

Hear Willie and the Wheel on Willie’s Place, XM/Sirius Radio Tonight

Friday, May 1st, 2009

after_willie_and_the_wheel-071

In honor of Willie’s 76th birthday weekend, Willie’s Place will replay this complete concert performance from Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel, originally broadcast live this past February from the Night Life Theater at the Willie’s Place truckstop in Carl’s Corner, Texas.

The show features an opening set from Ray Benson & Asleep at the Wheel, followed by an extensive show with Willie including classic Western Swing selections from the album Willie & The Wheel and other fan favorites.

Willie & The Wheel
Fri 5/1/o9
9:00 pm ET

best1

Best in Texas: Willie and the Wheel

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

best1

Best In Texas Music Magazine is a monthly publication featuring music in Texas. Fans can pick up a copy FREE at over 500 venues, bars, resaurants and retail locations throughout the state of Texas and parts of Oklahoma and Louisiana.  Because Best In Texas Music Magazine is the producer of a weekly Texas Music Chart the magazine is closely watched by fans, artists, radio and industry professionals in Texas and beyond.  Can’t find it?  Ask your favorite venue or dancehall to contact BITMM for monthly distribution!  Or subscribe and BITMM will mail you a copy every month!

Check out the web sites too!

www.BestInTexasOnline.com

www.TexasMusicChart.com.

www.myspace.com/bestintexasmusicmagazine

Willie Nelson, Ray Benson on NPR

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

npr

http://www.npr.org
by John Burnett

 Willie Nelson has collaborated with everyone — really — just about everyone — from jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to opera star Julio Iglesias — to rapper Snoop Dogg. But latest collaboration brings him a little closer to home. He’s playing the music of one of his idols, western swing master Bob Wills, with the band Asleep at the Wheel.

It’s the kind of old-style music you might have heard when Wills’ tour bus stopped at a honky-tonk beside the highway — a joint like Willie’s Place. It’s a combination truckstop, restaurant, and dancehall an hour south of Dallas in the tiny municipality of Carl’s Corner. Nelson is part owner of the operation and it was one of the stops on his tour with Asleep at the Wheel.

The town was created for the sole purpose of selling beer in a dry county. In an earlier day, Carl’s Corner was known far and wide as a way-station for lonely truckers looking for love on the interstate — the kind of place that Willie might’ve sung about.

The proprietor, Carl Cornelius, is shocked — shocked — that anyone would suggest such a thing. “Don’t have any of that kind of that stuff,” Cornelius insists. “People live in a world of fantasy, somebody can say something as a joke [but] that’s just not the truth.”

Nowadays, eighteen-wheelers line up to buy diesel and a boutique bio-fuel called Willie’s Bio-Diesel. Inside, it’s a shrine to the 75-year-old country-music icon.

The Triangle Of Twang

Culturally, Carl’s Corner sits in the heart of a region with rusting cotton gins, well-kept Baptist churches, and deep musical roots. Call it the Triangle of Twang. Nelson grew up just down the interstate in the farming town of Abbott. Over in Mexia lived the great country-and-western songstress, Cindy Walker. And Fort Worth was home of the King of Western Swing, Bob Wills.

The new tribute to Wills was executive produced by the late, legendary Jerry Wexler — who helped launch the careers of Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, among others. Nelson was signed, briefly, to Atlantic Records in the early 1970’s, when Wexler decided Willie should do a tribute to western swing.

“He always wanted to do this album,” says Nelson. “He wrote down the titles of these songs, and he wanted to see me do ’em at some point because he loved western swing, and he knew the music.”

It was a natural concept for Nelson, because this is the music he was raised on. “I’ve been in a band — ever since I was 10-12 years old — of one kind or another and we always sang Bob Wills because that was the hot music of the day,” says Nelson.

He left Atlantic before he could do the western swing album. But Wexler never forgot the concept. In 2007, more than 30 years later, he called up Nelson’s manager and suggested Willie team up with Asleep at the Wheel to do the record.

Wexler’s Last Project

Ray Benson, leader of Asleep at the Wheel, says he was honored to co-produce Wexler’s last project. “I’d send him mixes in the mail. He heard the finished tune on about seven of ’em, then he passed away a month before it was totally packaged,” says Benson.

Wexler died last August at the age of 91, after a half century in the music business.

Nelson and Benson go back a long way in the business themselves. It was Willie who first invited Asleep at the Wheel — then a cowboy-hippie band playing around the San Francisco Bay Area — to think about a new home.

“I told him he should go to Austin, bring his band, because I heard ’em I thought they were great,” says Nelson. “I knew that everybody in Texas would love it.”

Benson chimes in, “And we loved Willie Nelson because Willie’s approach to music was ours: if it’s a good song and there’s a little bit of jazz, little bit of country, little bit of blues, that’s what it was all about.”

Joe Nick Patoski was in the crowd to hear Willie and the Wheel at Willie’s place. Patokski is a Texas music journalist and author of the recent biography, Willie Nelson: An Epic Life. Patoski has heard Willie’s collaborations with Iglesias, Marsalis, and Snoop Dog. To him, the swinging cowboy jazz band on stage in Carl’s Corner feels like Nelson has come home.

“All these cats are pickers,” enthuses Patoski. “Forget that they’re songwriters or entertainers. They’re jazz players, and they’re playin’ hot, and this is what counts.”

Fellow country outlaw Waylon Jennings sang this about his old friend Willie Nelson: “He’ll be the first to tell you, Bob Wills is still the king.”