RAY BENSON: It’s part of my life because we’ve played it every year, because I helped them when it first started out to put the deal together, and because I also played the first Austin City Limits show in 1975. This has been so important for my career and I love it.AD: The festival has changed a lot over the years. What’s changed for you?
RB: The show has changed a lot but it mainly showcases music that is not showcased elsewhere. I think that is what the festival is all about. It showcases bands that you are just not going to see on Oprah.
AD: What’s different about playing in Austin and playing in other parts of the world?
RB: I get to sleep in my own bed. We play Texas music so here is home. I think the audience understands a little bit more about what we are doing. Western swing mixed with a wide variety of music–boggie woogie, and country—a lot of people aren’t familiar with that. Here they are. When we get on stage I think people know what we are going to do.
AD: What wisdom would give a musician starting out?
RB: Don’t give up. Don’t give up and have a wealthy girlfriend. It is tough so don’t give up. Love what you are doing and that is its own reward. When I was starving I was still happy before we made it because I loved playing music. And if you love playing music you can’t go wrong.