Since the early '70s, Asleep at the Wheel has been the most important force in keeping the sound of Western swing alive. In reviving the freewheeling, eclectic sensibility of Western swing godfather Bob Wills, the Wheel earned enthusiastic critical praise throughout their lengthy career; they not only preserved classic sounds that had all but disappeared from country music, but were also able to update the music, keeping it a living, breathing art form. Typically featuring 8-11 musicians, the group has gone through myriad personnel changes (at last count, over 80 members had passed through their ranks), but 6'7" frontman Ray Benson has held it together for over three decades, keeping Asleep at the Wheel a viable recording and touring concern and maintaining their devotion to classic-style Western swing.Singer/guitarist Benson was born Ray Benson Seifert and grew up listening to a variety of music in Philadelphia, especially jazz. He formed Asleep at the Wheel in Paw Paw, WV, in 1970.