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Ray Benson: 50 Years

RAY BENSON is a towering icon of Texas music, an ambassador and survivor. Over the course of 50 years, he and his band Asleep at the Wheel carved out a hard-earned, Grammy-winning niche as the embodiment of the adventurous spirit of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.

Asleep at the Wheel did it by riding the country-rock and outlaw country wave of the late 1960s and early 1970s but with revivalists’ love of pure Western swing, country, rock ’n’ roll, jazz, boogie-woogie, and Texas blues. Benson’s bigger-than-life persona, sense of flair, and fun was the cherry on top.

Like Jerry Jeff Walker, Benson was an outsider. But the self-described “Jewish Yankee Hippie from Philadelphia” quickly became a beloved Austin institution.  “Ray Benson: 50 Years” celebrates his contribution to Texas music, his wonderous archives, and his recovery this spring from COVID-19.

TUNE IN! The one and only Ray Benson joined us for a livestream event on September 26, 2021. The Wittliff's Hector Saldaña and the modern king of Western swing shared stories and songs from Benson's 50 years in music. Watch the video on our YouTube page. Follow this link.


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Treasures of The Wittliff Gallery