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Home mySSlife Entertainment Asleep at the Wheel coming to Linden’s Music City Theater

Asleep at the Wheel coming to Linden’s Music City Theater

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alt Asleep at the Wheel, that great Western Swing band, is coming to Northeast Texas. The “Wheel,” as they’re called by their fans, will be in concert at the Music City Texas Theater in Linden on Saturday, Dec. 13. According to their website, over the last 36 years bandleader Ray Benson and the Wheel have “boldly defied the fickle lures of the mainstream – and thrived – by sticking to their noble cause of keeping that distinctly American of art forms, western swing, alive and kicking. Along the way, they’ve entertained thousands and won praise and admiration from everyone from Willie Nelson to Bob Dylan, George Strait to Van Morrison.”

For Benson, the will to play the guitar began in Philadelphia, Pa. far away from the city of Austin, which the Wheel has called home for the last 33 years.

“I was born in 1951, and big band music was still very much around, and in my community it was still very much the thing,” Benson explains. “I played bass in my school stage band in 10th  grade, and my musical director introduced us to Count Bassie. My friend Lucky Ocean’s parents were sort of like beatniks, and his dad gave us some Lester Young records when we were still in high school. But I just happened to be a weird kind of guy: I was also into folk music, Chicago blues and country. My goal was to be more different than anybody, and that’s what Asleep at the Wheel was all about: doing roots music that was different and eclectic.”

Through the years, over 80 musicians have been on the Wheel’s official roster. Among those joining Benson on the road these days are fiddle player and right-hand-man Jason Roberts and smooth-as-glass steel player Eddie Rivers.

Perky girl singer Elizabeth McQueen, who is married to drummer David Sanger, will miss the show, but with good reason.

“Unfortunately I won’t be in Linden this time,” McQueen said in a recent e-mail. “I’m 8 months pregnant, and I’ve pretty much stopped traveling. And, the next time we see each other, I’ll probably have a baby in my arms!”

Music City Texas Theater is a project of Linden-Music City Texas, Inc., an autonomous nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization conceived by the Linden Economic Development Corporation in an effort to promote tourism in Linden, Cass County and the surrounding area.

The facility itself is a result of the artful renovation of the Linden American Legion Auditorium built in 1948-50 which is now owned by the city of Linden and leased for 10 years to MCT, Inc.

The renovation has been mainly accomplished by the volunteer work of the MCT Board of Directors and local citizens, with necessary funds made available by donations from the Linden Lions Club, the Linden EDC, private individuals and a loan to MCT from the EDC revolving loan fund.

Celebrating its grand opening in May of 2003, the theater continues to present an array of quality entertainment, ranging from nationally known artists to regional and local entertainers from all genres of music.

MCT’s President, Richard Bowden, also a veteran of more than 30 years in the entertainment industry. He toured with his high school friend and fellow Linden native Don Henley, drummer for the Eagles, and he’s also played backup for Linda Rondstadt and Don Fogleberg.

“Of the many fine artists that have performed at the Music City Texas Theater, Asleep At The Wheel has offered up one of the smoothest, most seamless shows of any act, providing pure entertainment and professionalism to the max from the first note to the last,” Bowden said in a recent e-mail. “The Wheel could be admired strictly based on their staying power, as they have endured over three decades, but seeing their show provides the answer to why they are still one of the best touring acts available today.”

Tickets to see Asleep at the Wheel are $30 and are available by calling 903-756-9934 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. More information is available at www.musiccitytexas.org.

For more information on Asleep at the Wheel, see website www.asleepatthewheel.com.

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Editor’s note: I’ve seen Jackson Browne and Mac McAnally at MCT and can attest to the quality of the venue. There’s not a bad seat in the house. They also have great chicken and dumplings and some of the best barbecue sandwiches this side of Memphis.

 

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