Reinventing the Wheel

When you arrive at a certain age, some of the musicians you’ve been listening to for a long time are becoming institutions right before your very eyes—and just a few beats before they, and you, are damn near ready to be institutionalized. That’s why it’s heartening to see so many of these people keeping the music coming, both new and fresh, and old and familiar. So it is with Asleep at the Wheel, a band that’s been introducing Texas swing to a couple of generations of music lovers by now, and doing it again with its latest album, Reinventing the Wheel. Ray Benson has been playing these songs for a lifetime now, and none of it seems derivative any longer. He and his band own this stuff. “You’re My Sugar,” featuring a duet between guitarist Elizabeth McQueen and fiddler Jason Roberts, will transport listeners to a 1950s road house in the Deep South, and “I’m an Old Cowhand” will tap into your latent buckaroo. If you were fortunate enough to see Benson and the ensemble at Sierra Nevada’s Big Room May 15, then you already know about the excitement they can generate. If you weren’t there, this CD will make you wish you had been.