Posts Tagged With: Still the King

Asleep at the Wheel wins Grammy #10!

AATWGrammyMajor congratulations to my “Comin’ Right at Ya” co-writer/subject/star Ray Benson, who has done it again at the Grammy Awards. Asleep at the Wheel’s Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys has won for best recording package, which makes it an even 10 Grammys for The Wheel going back to their first way back in 1979. It’s also their first Grammy since 2000, which happened to come in this same category for another Wills tribute album, 1999’s Ride With Bob.

If you want to read a funny story about the night Asleep at the Wheel won its very first Grammy, click the “EXCERPTS” link here. and check out the “Prologue” to “Comin’ Right at Ya.”

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Grammy love for the Wheel, but not Ryan Adams

Grammy2016In the media blitz that accompanied the release of DRA 1989 back in September, there was some hyperbolic speculation about Grammy Awards — that the album might get Ryan Adams a few nominations, maybe even for album of the year to set up a Grammy showdown against Taylor Swift’s original 1989. But that turned out to be wishful thinking.

Grammy nominations are out today and Swift checks in with seven total, including the categories of record, song and (yes) album of the year. So she certainly did her part — but Ryan, alas, did not make the cut. He didn’t pick up any nominations this go-round, which means he’ll have to wait at least another year to win his first Grammy (Ryan has been nominated seven times since 2001 but has yet to win one).

AATWKingEven if Ryan wasn’t nominated this year, however, a handful of others from North Carolina were, most notably Fayetteville-raised hip-hop star J. Cole and Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founder Rhiannon Giddens. You can find a recap of North Carolina-connected nominations here.

On a personal level, meanwhile, there is a bit of Grammy news in my book-related world. My “Comin’ Right at Ya” co-writer/subject/star Ray Benson’s Asleep at the Wheel is up for best recording package with his group’s third and latest Bob Wills tribute album Still The King: Celebrating The Music Of Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys, alongside albums by Florence + the Machine, Snoop Dogg, Alagoas and the late Elvis Presley.

The Grammys will be presented on Feb. 15 in Los Angeles. If the Wheel wins, this would be the group’s first since 2000 (which was in this same category — for another Wills tribute, 1999’s Ride With Bob) and 10th overall. To read about the star-crossed night when Asleep at the Wheel won that very first Grammy way back in 1979, click the EXCERPTS link here.


 

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Asleep at the Wheel on New Year’s Eve

In my personal hierarchy of holidays, New Year’s Eve ranks near the bottom. Anywhere you go that night tends to be overcrowded with too many people trying way too hard to cram too much “fun” into one night, because they don’t get out enough the rest of the year. But this New Year’s Eve looks like it has some potential to be really cool.

Nice to see Asleep at the Wheel opening for the Avett Brothers, especially after the Avetts were one of the acts contributing to the Wheel’s latest Bob Wills tribute album Still the King.

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Behind the curtain with “Faded Love”

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That’s me in the doorway, head down, surrounded by Time Jumpers.

So this Asleep at the Wheel book I co-wrote with Ray Benson, “Comin’ Right at Ya,” will be published in October. But it’s been in the works for a couple of years, since the summer of 2013. Because the subject was participating this time around, it was a lot more fun and less pressurized than “Losering.” Maybe the most appealing aspect of the whole thing was the opportunity it gave me to hang out behind the curtain in Ray’s world for a while. We met up a half-dozen times during 2013 and 2014, so I could interview Ray and associates, and also lurk around watching him work.

One of the most memorable such occasions was August 2013, a rendezvous with Asleep at the Wheel at the home of Vince Gill and Amy Grant. The Gill-Grant estate was just another super-nice mansion in the good part of Nashville — except, of course, for distinguishing features like the putting green in the yard, the dozens of Grammy Awards lining the shelves, the framed letters from Elton John and other celebrities hanging on the bathroom walls and the first-class recording studio in the house.

StillKing-DIEThe day I was there, Ray and company were working in Gill’s studio with his Western swing group the Time Jumpers to record “Faded Love,” which appears on the new Asleep at the Wheel album Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. I got a souvenir out of it, too, a brief appearance near the beginning of the behind-the-scenes “Faded Love” video. In the screengrab above, that’s me sitting on the steps in the doorway. If memory serves, I kept my head down for the cameras because I somehow thought that would make me seem less obtrusive.

But I’ll tell you what, I sure did lift up my head when Time Jumpers vocalist Dawn Sears began to sing that day. I hadn’t been familiar with Dawn before, but she was just jaw-droppingly great – maybe the best singer I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing up-close. Sadly, Dawn died of cancer this past December. But you get a sense of what a powerhouse vocalist she was from the video. I wrote a bit more about Dawn and the “Faded Love” video here; and also about the rest of the Still the King album here.

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