The Blue River Series of the Breckenridge Music Festival presents Asleep at the Wheel at the Riverwalk Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Western swing band has won nine Grammy's since 1970.Now in their 41st year, Asleep at the Wheel continues to introduce the Western swing genre to a new generation on tour and takes audiences on the ride of a lifetime with their play, "A Ride with Bob." "It's been an amazing ride. From Paw Paw to San Francisco to Austin, we've seen it all," says Wheel frontman Ray Benson. "But, rest assured, there is still so many exciting projects in the works. The Wheel keeps rolling!" It all started when Ray Benson, Floyd Domino, and Lucky Oceans, along with a Vermont farm boy named Leroy Preston; Virginian Chris O'Connell; and Gene Dobkin, a bass player and fellow classmate of Benson's from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, joined forces. They began with a simple goal: to play and help revive American roots music. Asleep at the Wheel landed a gig opening for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna in Washington, DC in 1970. At the height of Vietnam, many Americans were using their choice of music to express their stance on the conflict in southeast Asia. "We wanted to break that mold," said Benson. "We were concerned more with this amazing roots music, which we felt was being lost amid the politics. We were too country for the rock folks and we were too long-haired for the country folks. But everybody got over it once the music started playing." A year later, they were coaxed into moving to California by Commander Cody, leader of Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen. But, the band's big break came when Van Morrison mentioned them in an interview with Rolling Stone. The record offers started coming in and The Wheel got rolling.
What: Asleep at the Wheel, Western swing bandWhen: 7:30 p.m. ThursdayWhere: The Riverwalk Center, BreckenridgeTickets: $20 advance, $25 day of, $30 reservedInfo: (970) 547-3100 or www.BreckenridgeRiverwalkCenter.com