Asleep at the Auction
There’s no stopping some collectors, who make historical gear and other oddities a lifelong pursuit. Ray Benson, frontman of the longtime Texas-based Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel, has a looser grasp on some of his items.
“After 50 plus years of collecting, I realized it’s time for me to clean house and let someone else enjoy them for a while,” said Benson in a press release. “I wouldn’t say that I became a collector on purpose,” he later added.
In particular, he’s talking about memorabilia, custom guitars, classic cars, and even a custom motorcycle. New Braunfels-based Burley Auction is in charge of the sale, which will occur both in person in New Braunfels and online on October 15. So each item’s true value shines through, Benson will walk onlookers through his collection, telling stories from his career since 1970.
Collectibles are a great chance at name dropping, which in this case calls to memory connections with Willie Nelson, George Strait, Dolly Parton, and Commander Cody, among others. This is as interesting for an Asleep at the Wheel fan as any buyer who loves Texas and its nonconformist entertainment history.
“I’ve accumulated a vast collection of some really cool stuff! From the bay area music scene of the early ‘70s, to the Austin ‘Cosmic Cowboy’ movement” Benson said. “Hats, boots, posters, cars and guitars!”
Benson will auction off custom guitars, classic cars, and more on October 15.Photo by Mike Shore
In addition to connecting people with items that make them happy or teach them something, this auction benefits the Texas Dance Hall Preservation, which maintains antique gathering places across the state including two in Texas: the Austin Son’s of Hermann Mixed Lodge and the Broken Spoke.
The auction couldn’t have come at a more nostalgic time for Asleep at the Wheel, in the wake of its album Half A Hundred Years, released on October 1. As usual, the band will be at the Austin City Limits Festival (as one of its more stable offerings year-to-year) supporting the 19-track new release. Iconic musicians from the genre join the record as guests, plus three original band members who lend their talents for the first time in 40 years.
Asleep at the Wheel will play with the Plano Symphony Orchestra at Richardson's Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts Richardson on October 22. Their next show in Fort Worth is at Tannahill's Tavern in the Stockyards, on January 14, 2023.
Auction registration details and a catalog of items up for grabs are available at BurleyAuction.com.