The number of individual artists and bands who have sustained a thriving career for a half century is infinitesimally small. Against all odds, Asleep At the Wheel is one of these. The stars aligned in 1970 when three friends Ray Benson, Lucky Oceans and Leroy Preston moved to Paw Paw, West Virginia (it’s not a made-up place, you can look it up). It was there that their dream of forming a band began after a mutual friend gave them access to his uncle’s cabin on an apple orchard just outside of town. The three friends began to – quite literally — woodshed and found others who would join them in their mission to play old style Roots/Americana music. This was long before the genre/movement even had a name. After a trip to the outhouse, Lucky lived up to his name and suggested the band be called Asleep at the Wheel and so it was to be for the next 50 years.
Since inception, Asleep at the Wheel has been received 10 GRAMMY® Awards, was cited by the Country Music Association as 1976 Touring Band of the Year and were given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Americana Music Association in 2009. They have released 31 albums, charted more than 20 singles on the country charts. Billboard commented on the band’s catalog most succinctly: “Everything this act has ever released is simply spectacular.”
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