SXSW 2016: Ray Benson’s Birthday Party With Prominent Guests

Ray Benson Carolyn Wonderland © Per Ole HagenRay Benson’s birthday is March 16, and every year he celebrates it the Tuesday before the Music festival at SXSW starts, if that be the right date, or not. This year the 65 year party, a combination of a concert with prominent guests and a fundraiser for HAAM was celebrated at the GSD&M building in Austin. (Photo above: Ray Benson and Carolyn Wonderland)

Reenie Collins 15032016-02Ray Benson and Reniee Collings from HAAM

During the year, the party has raised a lot of money for HAAM, both through donations and a silent auction. HAAM, or Health Alliance for Austin Musicians is an important organization for artists who don’t always have the money for health insurance.

Ray Benson © Per Ole Hagen

For those who don’t know who Ray Benson is, I recommend the Wikipedia article about him. He has been the leader of Asleep At The Wheel for some 45 years, and is a prominent part of the Austin music scene. Asleep At The Wheel have released multiple albums, and Ray and the band have won numerous awards during their 45 years, among them 10 Grammys.

Ray Benson © Per Ole HagenThis year’s birthday cake – a Ray Benson look-alike cake

The party on Tuesday had several guests on stage. Ray and his band did some of their own songs, and they also backed the guests. The big stars were George Strait, Jimmy Vaughan, Dale Watson, The Avett Brothers and Carolyn Wonderland. We also saw The Quebee Sisters, Jason Boland, Sunny Sweeney and Bonnie Bishop. I have been fortunate enough to attend many of Ray Benson’s earlier birthday parties, and they have all had high class music. But I think this year’s line-up was the best so far.

Here are photos of all of them.

Ray Benson George Strait © Per Ole HagenRay Benson and George Strait

George Strait © Per Ole HagenGeorge Strait

Ray Benson Jimmie Vaughan © Per Ole HagenRay Benson and Jimmie Vaughan

Ray Benson Jimmie Vaughan © Per Ole HagenRay Benson and Jimmie Vaughan

Ray Benson Dale Watson © Per Ole HagenRay Benson and Dale Watson

Dale Watson © Per Ole HagenDale Watson

Dale Watson © Per Ole HagenDale Watson

Carolyn Wonderland © Per Ole HagenCarolyn Wonderland

Carolyn Wonderland © Per Ole HagenCarolyn Wonderland

Avett Brothers © Per Ole HagenThe Avett Brothers

Bonnie Bishop © Per Ole HagenBonnie Bishop

Ray Benson Quebee Sisters © Per Ole HagenThe Quebee Sisters

Jason Boland © Per Ole HagenJason Boland

Jason Boland © Per Ole HagenJason Boland

Sunny Sweeney © Per Ole HagenSunny Sweeney

Ray Benson Sunny Sweenie © Per Ole HagenRay Benson and Sunny Sweeney

All photos are © Per Ole Hageland must not be used without written permission.

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