Ray Benson life and biography

Ray Benson picture, image, poster

Ray Benson biography

Date of birth : 1951-03-16
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2010-12-22
Credited as : Country music singer, and Western Swing,

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Ray Benson is the front man of the Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel.

Ray Benson (Ray Benson Siefert), Lucky Oceans and Leroy Preston were really just three alterna-culture refugees when they landed in Paw Paw, W. Va., in the summer of 1969. Their plan was to form a real live Western swing band, influenced by the likes of fellow-gonzo-swinger Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. After drifting through Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, the band (which got its record deal when Van Morrison raved about them in Rolling Stone) landed in heart of Bob Wills country: Austin, Texas, in the early '70s. With its fondness for jazz, blues, rock and country, the band was an instant hit with the same folks who embraced Willie Nelson and the rest of the Outlaws.

The band only scored one Top 10 country hit -- 1975's "The Letter That Johnny Walker Read" -- but has collected eight Grammys since then. In addition to two-all star Bob Wills tributes in the '90s, the ensemble offered a concept album Asleep at the Wheel Remembers the Alamo in 2003. Also that year, Benson (the only remaining founding member) released his first solo album, Beyond Time, which earned two Grammy nominations.

Benson has been presented numerous awards throughout his career. Most recently, the 16th Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Award for the making of "A Ride With Bob", an Honorary Junior Member of the United States Secret Service, and the Darrel K. Royal Music Patron Award by The Texas Heritage Songwriters' Association. In 2007, the Austin Chronicle recognized Benson for Male Vocals, Band of the Year, Songwriter, Record Producer, and for the Country Genre. Benson was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 2002, was given The Texas Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996, and recognized as an Outstanding Producer by the National Academy of Recording Arts in 1988. He has also been given numerous Citations of Achievement by Broadcast Music, Inc. for his work in the country music field. Ray Benson has been one of the strongest names in Country Music for the last forty years. Ray Benson has earned 9 Grammy awards in 4 different decades.


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