Ray Benson talks about his friend JJ Cale, how he started the Texas Music Scene TV show, and playing in a band with over 100 members. He also sets up and plays three tracks from his latest solo album, A Little Piece.
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Ray Benson Info
Ray Benson Interview Recap
Ray Benson talks about why he put out A Little Piece despite his busy schedule. He says these tunes are mostly new, written in the past three years and that he had stuff he wanted to do that didn't fit into Asleep At The Wheel.
Ray Benson notes that Asleep At The Wheel has been around a long time. He says, “I've played in this band for 44 years. It's been a rotating cast of 100 or so players. And we've done records with the Manhattan Transfer, George Strait, Huey Lewis and others. But I had a lot of stuff that didn't fit into the repertoire of Asleep At The Wheel.”
Ray Benson sets up “Ain't Looking For Trouble.” He says, “A lot of those songs come from finger picking. It's something I've always done from the time I started playing guitar. That song was done in a different tuning called a DADGAD tuning and it puts you in a whole different modal kind of place. Lyrically it's about you walk into a room and all of a sudden you're in trouble.”
[Calvin plays “Ain't Looking For Trouble” from A Little Piece by Ray Benson.]
Calvin asks Ray Benson about his tribute to JJ Cale and his influence on Ray's Music. He says, “He was a friend of mine and as I was working on this album I called him up to see if he would play guitar on a track on this album. And he said, “Ray I'm in bed and I'm not feeling well and I'm going to play much guitar.' And a month later he'd passed away. He was a friend and a guy I really admired. I met him 40 years ago and I knew all the guys in his band and all the Tulsa guys. He was just a great died and I was just sitting there after he died and the song just came and I wanted to do it in his style that Cale did. He had a certain style, 'After Midnight,' 'Cocaine,' 'They Call Me The Breeze,' anyway it was great. I played the wah wah guitar which was the hallmark of 'Crazy Mama'. I had a wonderful time doing it. I miss the guy. he was a true original.”
[Calvin plays “JJ Cale” from A Little Piece by Ray Benson.]
Calvin asks about the Ray Benson's work with the Texas Music Scene TV show. He says, “Well we're in our fourth year now. We started out on one station. In Texas now were in 30 cities. We're on certain cable stuff in St. Louis and Nashville and a bunch of others. And every episode is on YouTube. It's called The Texas Music Scene With Ray Benson. We video tape and record all the bands that are playing around Texas. We do that in performance sections of a couple of songs and we do interview sections about writing the songs and everything and then at the end we'll have a legends section sometimes where we'll talk about the legends of Texas music. Everything from Roy Orbison to Willie Nelson to Bob Wills to Gene Autry and all the great people. Freddie King, Guy Clark everything. It's a very entertaining show and I host the thing. The production values are very high and well shot and we do the mixing in the studio after we shoot so the sound is great.”
Calvin asks Ray Benson what advice he has for bands making their first appearance on TV. He says, “Make sure our fly's up. That's a good one. Just be prepared. That's the main thing. We hate it when somebody comes in and the band is not experienced and tight. That's one thing we have down here are in tight bands because there's a lot of work a lot shoes a lot of dances a lot of outdoor stuff.”
Ray Benson says that the idea for the Texas Music Scene show came from Austin City Limits. He says, “I did the first Austin City Limits in 1975. Willie Nelson did the pilot and Asleep At The Wheel did the first episode. They asked me who I wanted and I had the remaining Texas Playboys in the band. I've done the show dozens of times and I was on the Board of Directors for a number of years and I used to say 'hey look the scope of Austin City Limits has expanded so much why don't we do a smaller Austin City Limits 2 or Austin Outer Limits, whatever and have local bands because there's always been a ton of really good music done in Texas , in every generation.' But they didn't go for it. They really had their hands full with Austin City Limits and that became more of an international show. A fella in Dallas came to me with the idea and he had the knowledge and they had one television station and they put us on after the Texas Rangers baseball game. We did it bootstrap style and it's done very well.”
Ray Benson sets up, “Killed By A 45.” He says, “I always have to look out in the audience when I do this one and see how old they are. Because the one bit of knowledge you must have is that you have to know what a 45 RPM record is. It's the small record with the big hole.”
[Calvin plays “Killed by a 45” from A Little Piece by Ray Benson.]
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