Austin is Asleep at the Wheel’s town and has been for 40-plus years, so it’s fitting that a manifestation of the group is one of the first things you encounter when flying into Austin’s Bergstrom International Airport. Just down the concourse from the food court, on your way down to baggage claim, you’ll pass by the Asleep at the Wheel Road House — which has cases full of artifacts from throughout the group’s history (including one of the nine Grammy Awards they’ve won) and a performance stage that has someone up and playing on it more often than not, at all hours of the day and night.
One of the AATW Road House’s more iconic tokens is a lifesize photo cutout of “Comin’ Right at Ya” co-writer/subject/star Ray Benson. It’s an enduringly popular photo backdrop, one I’ve used myself more than once. The most recent instance is here on the right, a picture taken when I flew in for the Texas Book Festival.
As it happens, even Ray himself can’t resist it. Below was the scene this past Friday morning, a shot featuring Ray and AATW pianist emeritus Floyd Domino, pausing to mug for a camera on their way up to a show in Denver.