Ray Benson‘s birthday party as a fundraiser for HAAM is an Austin tradition during SXSW. The passes are sought after, and there are always some big name surprise guests on stage with Ray and his house band, Asleep At The Wheel. Through the years I have seen many great artists at this event, Willie Nelson, The Avett Brothers, George Strait, Carolyn Wonderland and many others.
Ray 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)
Tuesday night was a real treat for us who like hand-played high quality music with good songs and even better playing. The main event for the evening at the Saxon Pub was Asleep At The Wheel. Milk Drive opened the show, and after the Wheels, Carolyn Wonderland played, before Insects vs Robots closed the night. (Picture above: Ray Benson from Asleep At The Wheel)
Asleep At The Wheel is the longest living western Swing band in USA. During their 40+ years of existence, they have won 9 Grammies and numerous other awards. They have toured all over USA many times, plus extensively in Europe. Now Dan Karlok has made a documentary about the band that will premiere this summer. A 34 minutes, unfinished version was shown at the SXSW yesterday.
Since SXSW is coming up in a couple of weeks, I have found a story I wrote on another blog three years ago about one of the best musicians there, Redd Volkaert.
If you visit the Continental Club on South Congress in Austin any Saturday afternoon or Sunday night, you are sure to see Redd Volkaert, one of the best guitarists I have seen in a long life. He plays with his own quartet on Saturdays and with his band Heybale! on Sundays. I met him before Heybale!’s concert the last Sunday in March 2010.