Asleep at the Wheel to headline Jimmy Dean Music & Arts Festival

PLAINVIEW – Asleep at the Wheel, legendary ambassadors of Western swing music for more than 50 years, will headline the third annual Jimmy Dean Music & Arts Festival at Wayland Baptist University.

“It doesn’t get any better than having Asleep at the Wheel in Plainview, Texas,” said Amber McCloud, who is representing Wayland as the event co-chair.

“Oh yes it does,” said Mike Melcher, who is representing the community as the other event co-chair. “How about Asleep at the Wheel with Jason Roberts and the Texas Playboys opening? Fans know they are going to be seeing and hearing nothing less than the living embodiment of a musical tradition with deep roots back to the days of Bob Wills.”

“One ticket for two legendary Western swing bands, that’s incredible,” McCloud said.

The Jimmy Dean Music &Arts Festival is set for Saturday, Sept. 16, at Laney Center and concludes with the musical performances in Harral Auditorium.

An announcement about how to get tickets is expected this week, and McCloud warned that sales could be brisk: “You better get your tickets early because they are going to go quickly. The best will go first.”

For more than 50 years, Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson has been traversing the globe as an ambassador of Western swing music and introducing its irresistible sound to generation after generation. More than 100 musicians have passed through the Wheel, but Benson remains the front man and the keeper of the vision, and in the process has racked up more than 30 albums, 10 Grammy awards and literally millions of miles on the road.

“I’m the reason it’s still together, but the reason it’s popular is because we’ve had the greatest singers and players,” Benson said. “When someone joins the band, I say, ‘Learn everything that’s ever been done, then put your own stamp on it.’ I love to hear how they interpret what we do. I’m just a singer and a songwriter, and a pretty good guitar player, but my best talent is convincing people to jump on board and play this music.”

When Texas Playboys front man Jason Roberts steps onto a stage at Harral Memorial Auditorium with his fiddle and utters his first “AH-ha,” those attending the third annual Jimmy Dean Music & Arts Festival will know they have stepped into the world of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, which became one of the most popular touring and recording acts in the nation as they offered audiences the highly danceable musical mixture that came to be known as Western swing.

With the blessing of the Bob Wills estate, the music legend’s sound continues as big, bright, and brassy as ever. The newest Texas Playboys aggregation is led by Roberts, a two-time Grammy winner. The baton has been passed, and the hands that have grasped it are crafting some of the finest examples of Bob Wills-style western swing anyone could hear. Like the original band, this group of Playboys includes some of the best swing musicians Oklahoma and Texas have to offer.