Ray Benson (born March 16, 1951) is the front man of the Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel.
In 1970, Benson, a Jewish native of Philadelphia, formed Asleep at the Wheel with friends Lucky Oceans and Leroy Preston. The group relocated to Austin in 1973 after a suggestion from Willie Nelson .
Since then, the group has released more than 20 albums and earned 9 Grammy awards. Though the band's lineup has changed greatly over the years (about 90 people have been part of Asleep at the Wheel at some point), Benson has always remained at the helm as the band's driving force.
In addition to his work with Asleep at the Wheel, Benson is also an accomplished producer whose credits include albums by Dale Watson, Suzy Bogguss, Aaron Watson, James Hand and Carolyn Wonderland; also single tracks for Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Brad Paisley, Pam Tillis, Trace Adkins, Merle Haggard, and Vince Gill.
In 2003, Benson released his first solo album entitled Beyond Time.
Benson is also a founding member of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, which raises money to help aging R&B artists, and a member of the board of directors of the SIMS Foundation, which provides low-cost mental health services to Austin musicians and their families. He is also a trustee for the Texas chapter of NARAS, a board member of St Davids Community Health Foundation, and a board member and founding member of Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM).
Ray Benson is the host of the Texas Music Scene TV show. In an interview, Benson said that when he was on the Board of Directors for Austin City Limits, he urged them to start a spin-off show that focused on Texas bands because Austin City Limits had grown beyond its original scope to become an international show. Later he had the opportunity to work with executive producer Tom Hoitsma to host the Texas Music Scene TV, which showcases Texas bands.
Benson is 6 feet, 7 inches tall with size 16 EEE feet.
- ^ CMT.com : Ray Benson : Biography
- ^ "Allmusic - Ray Benson". All Media Guide. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
- ^ "AATW Story - Ray Benson". Asleep at the Wheel. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
- ^ "A Jewish singer towers over country western scene"
- ^ from an interview on episode 179 of the Americana Music Show, released February 17, 2014
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