Asleep at the Wheel with opener Brennen Leigh 2/13/20Thursday, February 13 2020 6:00pm Doors / 8:00pm Start
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Asleep at the Wheel with opener Brennen Leigh 2/13/20
“New Routes” the brand-new album by Asleep At the Wheel, marks both a new path forward and a nod to the freewheeling roots (get it?) of one of Texas’ most beloved bands. After a decade of collaborating on record with friends, including Willie Nelson on 2009’s Grammy Nominated “Willie and the Wheel” and in 2015 their critically acclaimed and Grammy winning tribute to the groundbreaking music of Western Swing pioneer Bob Wills, titled “Still the King”. With “New Routes” the Wheel has released their first album of new material in over a decade!
With a fresh new lineup, a bracing blend of original songs and vibrant cover material and some unanticipated new musical tangents, Asleep At the Wheel demonstrates convincingly it’s more relevant, enjoyable and musically nimble than any time in its 49 year history!
The 6’7” Benson has been the one constant in Asleep At the Wheel since the band’s founding in 1970 in Paw Paw, West Virginia. Since that time, more than 100 musicians have passed through the Wheel, but Benson remains the front man and the keeper of the vision, in the process racking up more than 25 albums, ten Grammy awards and literally millions of miles on the road.
“It took me 60 years, but I’m doing what I’m meant to do—singing and playing and writing better than I ever have. A bandleader is just someone who gathers people around them to play the best music they can play. I just try and make the best decisions possible and kick some ass every night onstage.”
Katie Shore follows in the long tradition of strong and talented female performers who have been an integral part of the band’s identity for decades. Shore says. “I always wanted to be in Asleep At the Wheel,” she said. “If you grew up in Fort Worth and played the fiddle, it was impossible not to know who the Wheel was. I feel part of a legacy, for sure.”
“This was a chance to re-invent the Wheel,” said Benson. “These are creative folks who can add stuff. I’m just the bandleader, so if I don’t have contributions from everybody, then the Wheel doesn’t roll.”
New Routes, he said, “is a pure distillation of where the band is right now,” Benson declared. “It gives me the palette that I’ve always wanted,” he added. “To be in Asleep at the Wheel you gotta be able to play Bob Wills, Country music, Louis Jordan, Count Basie etc... Every night I’m excited to play music with this lineup”
Brennen Leigh is an American songwriter, guitar player, mandolin player and singer whose to-the-point storytelling style has elevated her to cult icon status in Europe, Scandinavia, across the United States, South America and the United Kingdom. It's easy to see why she's caught the ear of greats like legendary Lubbock fiddler Tommy Hancock (widely regarded as the godfather of West Texas music), who was quoted as saying of Leigh's work; "It's great to hear music that affects you on an intellectual level as well as makes you want to dance".
All musical and performing prowess aside, the thing Leigh has become most famous for is her whip-smart songwriting. Her songs have been recorded by Lee Ann Womack, Rodney Crowell, Sunny Sweeney, Charley Crockett, Sarah Borges, Whitney Rose, Austin's The Carper Family, and Norway's Liv Marit Wedvik, among others. Leigh has collaborated with songwriting greats such as Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale, John Scott Sherrill, Robbie Fulks, Charlie Louvin and David Olney. On the critically acclaimed duet album Holdin' Our Own (2008), Leigh sang duets penned with country rockabilly giant Jesse Dayton. In 2013 Leigh released the Gurf Morlix produced Before The World Was Made with her frequent songwriting and touring partner Noel McKay. In 2015, Leigh appeared on Don't Forget Me Little Darling, Remembering the Carter Family, along with fiddler Jenee Fleenor (Blake Shelton, Martina McBride) and guitarist Brandon Rickman (Lonesome River Band). Leigh was a core member of country bluegrass band High Plains Jamboree from 2015 to 2017, also featuring fiddler Beth Chrisman, guitarist Noel McKay and bassist and banjo player Simon Flory. Rolling Stone called the band "One of the Best Things We Saw at AmericanaFest."
Leigh is two time Texas Music Awards Best Female Vocalist, 2018 Ameripolitan Music Honky Tonk Award winner, appeared as a finalist on USA Network's Nashville Star television show in 2003, and most notably, was champion of the 1993 Vergas Loon Calling Contest as a child in her home state of Minnesota. It was there Leigh got her musical start, when she began touring at age fourteen as part of a mandolin and guitar duet with her brother Seth Hulbert. While still in their teens, the sibling duo performed at the Minnesota State Fair, toured the United States from coast to coast, and opened a string of dates for bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley. The early “brother duet” style is still an obvious influence in Leigh’s music. Twenty years into a career she started young, she proudly flies the flag of genuine country music wherever her travels take her.