Personalities | Asleep At The Wheel | Country Rock & The Outlaws | Country
(Vocal/instrumental group, 1970s–present)
The most impressive and most successful of the western-swing revival bands was co-founded by a couple of hippies from the Philadelphia suburbs. Ray Benson (vocals, guitar, b. 1951) and Reuben ‘Lucky Oceans’ Gosfield (pedal steel guitar, b. 1951) fell in love with the records of Bob Wills and formed the band in 1969, soon adding Chris O’Connell (vocals, b. 1954), rhythm guitarist Leroy Preston and pianist Jim ‘Floyd Domino’ Haber. After two early albums, they finally broke through on the country charts with 1975’s ‘The Letter That Johnny Walker Read’. Members came and went, with the charismatic, six-foot-seven Benson the only constant, but the level of musicianship was always high and the commitment to the Wills sound was unbending. To date, Asleep At The Wheel have won eight Grammy Awards, and its alumni include bassist Tony Garnier, fiddler Link Davis, singer Mary Ann Price and steel guitarist Cindy Cashdollar.
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