Irvine Barclay Theatre

It’s Merry Texas Christmas Y’all

Texas legends, Asleep at the Wheel, combine their most popular songs with holiday favorites and originals.


Asleep at the Wheel: Merry Texas Christmas Y’all

Sunday, December 1, 2019 at 7pm

Tickets: $42, $50, $60, $110


Irvine Barclay Theatre - 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine CA | 949.854.4646

Spice up your holidays with Asleep at the Wheel as these Texas legends combine their most popular songs with holiday favorites and originals such as “Christmas in Jail” and “Merry Texas Christmas Y’all,” for a fun-­filled evening of honky-tonk holiday cheer.

The musicianship of Asleep at the Wheel has become the stuff of legends. Over the past four decades, this classic-style Western swing band has garnered 10 Grammy Awards and released more than 25 studio and live albums. And there is no sign of slowing down any time soon. The Wheel keeps rolling… and wishing you a Merry Texas Christmas Y’all.


BAND: David Sanger (Drums); Josh Hoag (Bass); Connor Forsyth (Piano and Vocals); Eddie Rivers (Steel Guitar and Saxophone); Jay Reynolds (Saxophone and Clarinet); Dennis Ludiker (Fiddle/Mandolin and Vocals); Katie Shore (Fiddle and Vocals); Ray Benson (Lead Guitar and Vocals).



Ray Benson (Lead Guitar and Vocals) was interviewed on the new Ken Burns music documentary: Country Music, on PBS.

Artist Website | Facebook | Twitter


YouTube: Asleep at the Wheel: Merry Texas Christmas Y’all



“Everything this act has ever released is simply spectacular.” - Billboard Magazine

Interview with Asleep at the Wheel




Asleep at the Wheel has seen miles and miles of Texas, and they got their kicks on Route 66. Now in their 49th year, the band continues to introduce the western swing genre to a new generation. “It’s been an amazing ride. From Paw Paw to San Francisco to Austin, we’ve seen it all,” says Wheel front man Ray Benson. “But, rest assured, there are 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 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, D.C. in 1970. At the height of the Vietnam War, 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 and 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.

The musicianship of Asleep at the Wheel has become the stuff of legends. Reuter’s pegged the Wheel as “one of the best live acts in the business.” The band has consistently toured at a national level throughout its history; with anywhere from 7 to 15 of the finest players Ray Benson could talk into jumping in the bus to play a string of dates. The alumni roster is well over 80-plus members, and includes an impressive list of musicians who have gone on to perform with artists such as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, and many more.


Ray Benson fell in love with western swing because of its unique combination of elements of American blues, swing and traditional fiddling, but also for its demanding musical chops. Western swing is what Benson calls “jazz with a cowboy hat.” It’s a thrill to hear live, and thanks in large part to the Wheel’s 40-plus years of promotion, is a living and creative genre of music today.


In 2018, Asleep at the Wheel released New Routes. The 11-track collection includes a blend of originals and exciting covers, and a guest vocal appearance by Seth and Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers.


The band’s 2015 release, Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, garnered the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Recording Package. The critically acclaimed album was named one of Rolling Stone’s 40 Best Country Albums of 2015. Featuring 22 acclaimed collaborations, the all-star line-up includes legends such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and George Strait, The Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, Old Crow Medicine Show and many other fine talents.


Over their history, Asleep at The Wheel has driven the genre to the edge; explored new territories; picked up new passengers along the way and crisscrossed the country to the delight of fans and critics alike.

The band has released more than 25 studio and live albums, earned 10 Grammy Awards, an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award, Academy of Country Music Award, and an Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction; and there is no sign of slowing down any time soon.


Irvine Barclay Theatre 2019-2020 Season sponsor: UCI Health


About Irvine Barclay Theatre

Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has emerged as one of California's most imaginative performing arts showcases. A unique collaborative venture among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector, the theatre has a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts. Performances take place in the 750-seat "jewel box" theatre which is renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics. Visit to learn about our exciting new season!