Happy birthday, Bob Wills!

BobWillsTalk to Ray Benson long enough, and the conversation will surely get around to Bob Wills — and by “long enough,” I mean a couple of minutes rather than a couple of hours. Truly, the king of Western swing has always been the biggest influence there is on Ray and Asleep at the Wheel, to the point that it’s difficult to imagine what the band would have been without Bob Wills’ music as a template.

You’ll find plenty about that in the “Comin’ Right at Ya” chapter “Ride With Bob,” which we titled after the 2005 stage musical that Ray co-wrote and put on to mark the centennial anniversary of Wills’ birthday. Were he still among the living, Wills would be turning 111 years old today, March 6. But even though he’s been gone for more than 40 years now, Wills’ disciples in Asleep at the Wheel are keeping the master’s music going.

Roll on, y’all.

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