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Asleep at the Wheel Kicks Off Galaxy of Stars Series

Asleep at the Wheel

TAHLEQUAH – If you want to hear what Texas sounds like, all you have to do is listen to Asleep at the Wheel.

This one-of-kind show will make its way to Northeastern State University on Friday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. to launch the Sequoyah Institute’s 23rd Annual Galaxy of Stars Series at the NSU Center for the Performing Arts. The show is sponsored by the BancFirst.

Over the course of the last 37 years, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel have boldly defied the fickle lures of the mainstream -- and thrived -- by sticking to their noble cause of keeping that distinctly American of art forms, western swing, alive and kicking. Along the way, they've been awarded nine Grammys, entertained millions and won praise and admiration from the likes of Willie Nelson to Bob Dylan, George Strait to Van Morrison. Asleep at the Wheel has been called the “post-modern kings of western swing,” and given their storied history, it is a title that few would question.

Asleep at the Wheel is an American musical institution: a kinship of like-minded musicians (over 80 members to date) united under Benson’s leadership.

I was born in 1951, and big band music was still very much around, and in my community it was still very much the thing,” said Benson. “I played bass in my school stage band in 10th grade, and my musical director introduced us to Count Bassie. My friend Lucky Ocean’s parents were sort of like beatniks, and his dad gave us some Lester Young records when we were still in high school. But I just happened to be a weird kind of guy: I was also into folk music, Chicago blues and country. My goal was to be more different than anybody, and that's what Asleep at the Wheel was all about: doing roots music that was different and eclectic.

The Sequoyah Institute will host a free fiddle-playing workshop conducted by Kelli Doolen Farmer prior to the show at 5:30 p.m. at the NSU Jazz Lab.

Tickets for Asleep at the Wheel are $20 for adults, $18 for NSU alumni, $16 for NSU employees, $14 for senior citizens, $12 for groups of 10 or more, $10 for students and children, and $5 for NSU students. Season tickets are also available 2008-2009 Galaxy of Stars Series. Season tickets are $100 for adults, $90 for NSU alumni, $80 for NSU employees, $70 for seniors, $50 for children and students, and $25 for NSU students. If you can’t attend all the shows, ask about the Pick Five season ticket special.

To purchase tickets, contact the NSU Box Office at (918) 458-2075. Full season tickets are a great way to see all the shows at a discount.

Additional funding for the 23rd Annual Galaxy of Stars Series is provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information on the Sequoyah Institute’s 23rd Annual Galaxy of Stars Series, visit


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