LISTEN: George Strait Collaborates With Asleep at the Wheel, Willie Nelson on New Song ‘Take Me Back to Tulsa’

by Clayton Edwards

Are you ready for some Western Swing? If you said, “Yes,” then you’re in for a treat. Asleep at the Wheel has assembled a Texas dream team for the latest single from their upcoming album. Ray Benson and the rest of AATW teamed up with George Strait and Willie Nelson for the track. It seems right that these Lone Star Legends are together for the song. After all, it’s a Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys cover. Wills and his band heavily influenced all of the artists on this track. This cover is really something special.

Asleep at the Wheel’s upcoming album, Half a Hundred Years, will be a celebration of the band’s five-decade career. It will hit shelves and streaming on October first. However, in the meantime, AATW is giving fans a taste of what they can expect from the release.

We covered the first single from Asleep at the Wheel’s upcoming release earlier this month. In that article, I said that “Take Me Back to Tulsa,” would doubtlessly be a highlight of the album. After hearing it, I’m going to go ahead and double down on that statement. This track is going to be a hard one to top.

Asleep at the Wheel Teach Texas History with Their New Single

Hearing Asleep at the Wheel, George Strait, and Willie Nelson on a Bob Wills track is like a lesson in Texas’ musical history. Wills and his band released the song in 1940. AATW started making music in the early seventies. That was around the same time that Willie moved away from Nashville and started to foster the music scene in Texas. Then, George Strait took influences from all of the aforementioned musicians and created one of the most successful country music careers in history. In short, Ray Benson and his band couldn’t have chosen better guests for this cut.

“Take Me Back to Tulsa,” isn’t just a historically important song for Texas musicians. It is also significant for Asleep at the Wheel. They’ve covered several songs by the King of Western Swing, but “Take Me Back to Tulsa,” was their first. So, that makes this single even more special for the band as well as their longtime fans.

In this cover, Asleep at the Wheel and their guests capture the spirit of the original. Ray Benson falls into the role of bandleader, calling on musicians and vocalists for their parts. However, unlike WIlls, Benson takes lead vocals in a verse. Willie and George also take a verse and their voices, while different, both fit the song perfectly. However, the star of the show is the swinging instrumental behind them. If you need fiddles, steel guitar, and a thumping rhythm section, this song has you covered.