ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL
Asleep at the Wheel has a long-standing tradition of “keeping Western Swing alive” (Wall Street Journal) and introducing the genre to a new generation. Frontman Ray Benson calls it “jazz with a cowboy hat,” and the unique combination of American blues, swing and traditional fiddling elements, along with its demanding musical chops, is what drew him to this style of American roots music back in 1970. A quick scan of awards, such as “Touring Band of the Year” (CMAs, 1976) and “Lifetime Achievement in Performance” (Americana Music Awards 2009), not to mention being 10-time Grammy Award winning, reflects the reputation of the band’s musicianship in the studio and on the road.
Taking a page from Bob Wills’ book, the band has constantly toured at a national level throughout its history with anywhere from 7-15 of the finest players Ray Benson could talk into jumping on the bus to play a string of dates. The alumni roster is well over 80+ members, and includes an impressive list of musicians who have gone on to perform with artists such as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, and many more. Currently traveling as an 8-piece band, “The Wheel plays music that is timeless, infectious, and is meant for dancing”(Dallas Observer, 2014) – and there’s no better place to experience them live than on the Texas Dance Hall Tour! https://www.asleepatthewheel.com/
LEE ANN WOMACK
When progressive traditionalist Lee Ann Womack dug into her roots, she found herself connecting harder than ever. The Way I’m Livin’, her first album in 7 years, earned two rounds of Grammy nominations – 2015 Country Album of the Year, 2016 Best Solo Country Vocal Performance and Country Song for “Chances Are”– as well as nods for the Americana Music Association Album and Artist of the Year.
The East Texan has sung for Presidents, the Concert for the Nobel Prize and Maya Angelou’s Celebration of Joy Rising. More importantly, the Grammy-winner has built a career seeking songs that slice life wide open to let the pain, the emptiness, the rage and the desire pour out.
A Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year, she’s also won the prestigious Album of the Year for There’s More Where That Came From, plus a pair of Single of the Years for “I May Hate Myself in the Morning” and “I Hope You Dance.”I Hope You Dance sold over 6 million albums; the title track topped multiple charts in multiple formats around the globe. http://www.leeannwomack.com/
Dale has flown the flag for classic honky-tonk for over two decades. He’s christened his brand of American roots “Ameripolitan” to differentiate it from current crop of Nashville-based pop country. The Alabama-born, Texas-raised Watson is a country music maverick, a true outlaw who stands alongside Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and George Strait as one of the finest country singers and songwriters from the Lone Star State.
Since the release of El Rancho Azul in 2013, Watson’s profile has risen considerably via appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman (CBS), Austin City Limits and The Sun Sessions (PBS) and as a guest on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me. A veteran touring artist and consummate entertainer, he is on the road more than 300 days a year. He also put his money where his heart is and took over ownership of two struggling Texas honky-tonks, the Little Longhorn Saloon in Austin (home of Chicken $#!+ Bingo) and The Big T Roadhouse in St. Hedwigs (outside San Antonio). If not on the road, he and His Lone Stars perform at one of them each Sunday. http://www.dalewatson.com/
HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN
You’d think a band from Austin, Texas with the word “Cowtown” in its name spends its time off from touring herding cattle at a West Texas ranch or maybe in Nashville writing songs about whiskey and loose women. Not the Hot Club of Cowtown. “We recently took a band vacation to the Gypsy Festival at St. Maries de la Mer in the South of France,” says the band’s fiddler and vocalist, Elana James. The Hot Club’s influences have always been as much the musette music of the smoky bistros of 1930s Paris as they are the hoedowns and Western swing of the mythic American West.
Since its beginnings in the late 1990s, the Hot Club of Cowtown’s star has continued to rise as its reputation for jaw-dropping virtuosity and unforgettable live shows has become the band’s global brand. Lauded for its “down-home melodies and exuberant improvisation” (The Times, London), the Hot Club has always woven a combination of seemingly disparate styles together to its own magical effect, setting up camp “at that crossroads where country meets jazz and chases the blues away” (The Independent), remaining “conscious always that above all else, the music is for dancing and an old-fashioned good time” (New York Times). http://www.hotclubofcowtown.com/
THE QUEBE SISTERS
When the Quebe Sisters from Texas take a stage, and the triple-threat fiddle champions start playing and singing in multi-part close harmony, audiences are usually transfixed, then blown away. It’s partly because the trio’s vocal and instrumental performances are authentic all-Americana, all the time, respectful of the artists that inspired them the most. Along with headlining their own shows to ever-growing audiences, they’ve shared stages with American music legends like Willie Nelson, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Ray Price, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Ray Benson, Asleep at the Wheel, Riders in the Sky and many others.
The Quebe Sisters’ unbridled passion for American music, along with their talent, skills and a lot of hard work, has taken them far beyond their wildest early aspirations. “One thing is for sure, you don’t see a group like the Quebe Sisters come along every day,” famed Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs told listeners on his own show on Nashville’s WSM. “Give them your undivided attention, and if you’re not already, you too, will become a fan.” http://quebesisters.com/
DALE & RAY
Dale Watson and Ray Benson were meant to sing together. Both hailing from, in and around Bedsore Texas, Dale and Ray have both individually worked their way through the local Honky Tonks and Beer Joints, entertaining the crowds with their own Classic Country and Western styles. But, they have NEVER recorded a record together… until now!
“Dale and Ray,” to be released in January 2017, is sure to be a Classic Country Record for the ages. Channeling from the likes of Willie and Merle, The Louvin Brothers, Buck Owens and Don Rich, Dale and Ray will be showcasing their own new original songs like “Bus Breakdown,” “I’m Crying, For Crying Time Again,” “Dale and Ray,” “Feelin’ Haggard,” to covers like “Write Your Own Songs” (Willie and Waylon) and “I Wish You Knew” (The Louvin Brothers).
Get ready to see and hear Country’s newest duo from Texas! https://www.daleandray.com/
HIGH PLAINS JAMBOREE
It’s been said that High Plains Jamboree is a bluegrass band west of the Mississippi and a country band east of the Mississippi.
The songs of mandolin and guitar player Brennen Leigh have been recorded by country stars Sunny Sweeney and Grammy winner Lee Ann Womack. Leigh has a cult following in Scandinavia, and has performed and recorded with artists with artists such as Charlie Louvin, Robbie Fulks and Jim Lauderdale.
Guitarist Noel McKay was discovered by Guy Clark in 1993 while performing at the Jimmie Rodgers Festival in Kerrville, Texas. Clark and McKay’s co-write “El Coyote” went on to win a Grammy for Best Folk Album.
Bassist and old time banjo player Simon Flory performed throughout the mid south with his mentor, bluegrass legend Donny Catron (Tennessee Gentlemen, Jesse McReynolds, Doyle Lawson). He also studied and taught at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music.
While each musician’s resume is impressive in its own right, this collaboration between long time friends has already gained international attention. http://www.highplainsjamboree.com/
Heybale! is a country band filled with an incredible pedigree of musicians who have supported some of country’s legends, and they’ve been holding down Sunday nights at the Continental Club since 2000. In the current band incarnation, Tom Lewis is playing drums, Redd Volkaert holds court on guitar, Earl Poole Ball pounds out the piano, Kevin Smith plays bass, and Dallas Wayne plays rhythm guitar.
Ironically, the beginning of Heybale! was actually at the End – a club in Nashville where the band played its first performance. The only “post-Nashville” members of the band at that time were Tom and Redd, although they did meet a country singer named Gary Claxton who had recently moved to Nashville from Oklahoma. In 2000, Tom decided to move to Austin where he ran into Earl – they had met previously at the Palomino in Hollywood nearly 10 years before then. Within that same year, Redd and Gary also relocated to Austin, and by June of that year Heybale! had been resurrected. http://www.heybalemusic.com/