Asleep At The Wheel: Tower Theatre
August 29, 2019- The legendary Ray Benson and his multi-nominated and nine-time Grammy award winning band, Asleep At The Wheel, played a remarkable set in front of a packed house in Oklahoma City at the Tower Theatre. The early-arriving crowd was treated to an outstanding set by the up and coming singer/songwriter, Joshua Ray Walker, who was followed by the brilliant, veteran Texas blues rocker, Seth James.
Dallas, Texas native, Joshua Ray Walker took the Tower stage to open the night. The young man’s bold presence commanded the audience’s attention from the first strum of his acoustic guitar. Walker released his debut album, Wish You Were Here, in January of this year, which garnered a lot of well-deserved media attention. His traditional, solo acoustic, country music set, included “Working Girl,” “Lot Lizard,” “Keep,” “Burn it,” “Last Call,” and his breakout single, “Canyon,” all of which are on his debut album. Walker also played two tunes with working titles, “How Long,” and “Cupboard,” that should be on the skillful songwriters upcoming sophomore effort. Joshua Ray Walker is an old soul with a bright future in the country music business. Grab your copy of Wish You Were Here and go see a live set.
Another Texan, born and bred, Seth James and his band were up next on the historic Tower stage. James, who just released his brand-new album, Good Life on August 23, played a wonderful blues and horn infused set in front of the OKC crowd. The set started nice and slow with “Sweet Lord,” from the 2016 collaboration with his wife Jessica Murray, A Million Miles of Love. The set picked up with the second song, “Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop,” a hit originally recorded in late 1945 by Lionel Hampton. This tune gave the horn section an opportunity to make their introduction to the Tower Theatre audience. The Seth James Band version featured Steve Sauerwine on the saxophone and Simon Willats on the trumpet. The cover was a perfect blend of old school R&B mixed with the Texas blues guitar of Seth James. The set also included “Thing for You” and “Cigarettes, Anger, and Wine” from his critically acclaimed, 2009 album, That Kind of Man. James also treated the energetic crowd to songs from the new record, Good Life, to include “That’s How You Do It,” “Little Angel,” and a very moving tune, co-written with his former Departed bandmate, Cody Canada about family ranches, titled “Third Generation.” The rest of the Seth James Band consists of Chris Doege on the drums, Nick Jay on the bass guitar, and Lewis Stephens on the keys. Go pick up a copy of the new album and go out and see Seth James. Certainly one of the best singer/songwriters on the circuit today.
The legendary Asleep At The Wheel and the legend Ray Benson took the Tower stage to a rousing applause from the standing room only crowd. The band has had many faces throughout the years, but the current lineup of players can arguably be considered one of the best that have been put on stage together, respectfully. The talented Katie Shore is on the fiddle and vocals as she duals with Dennis Ludiker throughout the night who is also on the fiddle, mandolin, and vocals. California native, David Sanger, kept the beat on the skins as Josh Hoag, who joined the band in 2017, kept everyone in line on the bass guitar. Eddie Rivers, who loves “meat and taters,” provided the sound of the sweet pedal steel guitar all night long and Scottsdale, AZ native, Connor “Corndog” Forsyth, mashed the keys.
The band kicked off the set with “Cherokee Maiden,” a western swing love song written by Cindy Walker and later made famous by “The King,” Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys in 1941. Benson kept the crowd on the edge of their seats in between songs with his whimsical stories and sense of humor, as they continued to roll through the classics. “Miles and Miles of Texas,” “Route 66,” and “Bob Wills is Still the King” rang throughout the theatre walls as the crowd sang along. A personal favorite, “Hot Rod Lincoln,” from their 1988 album, Western Standard Time, originally written by Charlie Ryan, released back in ‘55, was a part of the set, as well. Benson and the crew also played the best rendition of “Take Me Back to Tulsa,” a Western swing tune that Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan added words and music to the melody of the traditional fiddle tune, “Walkin’ Georgia Rose” in 1940. Appropriately, part of the encore included “Happy Trails,” originally written by Roy Rogers and his wife, Dale Evans. Joshua Ray Walker, Seth James, and Asleep At the Wheel provided the audience with an unforgettable night of American roots music and fellowship with family and friends.
Joshua Ray Walker:
Asleep At The Wheel: