Clint West handed me Ernest Tubbs, known as The Texas Troubadour, to follow, and I needed no encouragement to stay in Texas, and highlight a great track from Austin favourites Asleep at the Wheel. Originally recorded by Jim McGraw And The Western Sundowners in 1961, Asleep at the Wheel recorded their version of ‘Miles and Miles of Texas’ in 1976 and it’s remained a highlight of their live set ever since. Led by Ray Benson, at 6ft 7inches a giant both physically and musically, on guitar and vocals and Katie Shore on vocals and fiddle the band have forged a role as undisputed wearers of the Western Swing crown. Following in the footsteps of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, but always adding their unique take on the genre, the sheer joy the band display in their live shows made them an unmissable treat on their 2019 tour dates in the UK.
The song tells the story of a cowboy making a move from Louisiana to Texas “I was born in Louisiana down on the ol bayou/raised on shrimps and catfish mama’s good gumbo/I got the ramblin’ fever said goodbye to ma and pa/crossed that ol Red River and this is what I saw/I saw miles and miles of Texas all the stars up in the sky/I saw miles and miles of Texas gonna live here till I die”.
Benson contracted Covid 19 in spring 2020 but made a full recovery , and resuming touring this year the hard working band have 24 US dates this month and next. Their latest EP, ‘Better Times’ released last year seems to have worked it’s magic.