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SPECIAL EDITION #19|
Building on a lifetime blessed by musical genes and work alongside Western Swing giants, Jason Roberts has teamed up with world-class talents to launch the Jason Roberts Band.
Having spent his childhood among legends in Texas honky-tonks -- and then nearly 20 years with the world-famous band Asleep at the Wheel -- Jason has soaked up the very best of Western Swing and brings his own signature style to this traditional American genre. Two Grammy Awards and three individual Hall of Fame inductions later, Jason is stepping out to the delight of fans around the world.
Music is a family thing in the Roberts clan. Jason’s grandfather, Buck Roberts, a fellow Texas Western Swing Hall of Famer, toured nationally with The Roberts Brothers Rhthymaires in the 1940’s and 50’s. A 12-year-old Jason eventually fronted a band with his grandfather and other Rhthymaires’ veterans. From the other side, Jason’s grandmother played swing piano well past her 100th birthday.
Legendary fiddler Johnny Gimble (Jason’s kin by marriage) took notice of young Jason's remarkable natural talent and took him under his wing. Jason has said, “Every good lick I know, I stole from Johnny Gimble.” By the time he was 15, Jason had played with the greats like Gimble, Leon Rausch, Bobby Boatwright, Herb Remington, and others members of Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys.
Generous mentors and a good dose of genetics instilled in Jason a sense of musical purism and signature improvisation skills that wow fans to this day. These special beginnings translated into an extraordinary career that has kept skirts swinging and toes tapping for decades.
Jason’s time with Asleep at the Wheel began after he’d earned rave reviews as a fiddle-playing wunderkind and Ray Benson came knocking. Jason was only 16 then and couldn’t even get in to many of the venues the Wheel played, so Benson waited until Jason’s 18th birthday to start their 20-year run. In the meantime, Jason played with Jody Nix, Don Walser, and many others through high school.
With the Wheel, Jason was been privileged to record with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Johnny Gimble, Leon Rausch, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, and many others. He paused work with the Wheel briefly in 2006 to play with Van Morrison for a 14-show U.S. tour. He’s played on scores of studio recordings for artists across the country.
In 2007, Jason had the once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in the “Last of the Breed” tour with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, and the Wheel. Two years later, Austin City Limits featured “Willie and the Wheel” to kick off the show’s 35th Anniversary. The album of the same name garnered a GRAMMY nomination. (See Jason’s duet with Willie Nelson from that album.)
A songwriter to boot, Jason’s song “Am I Right or Amarillo” was the first single released from the Reinventing The Wheel album. His composition “Santa Loves to Boogie” was the title track on The Wheel's Christmas album in 2007. Jason’s first solo album, Texas Fiddle Man, is available for purchase on iTunes and online.
For most of his life, Jason has delighted audiences around the world. From the White House to The David Letterman Show and the Kennedy Center to Bob Wills’ hometown of Turkey, Texas, Jason has helped keep the spirit of Western Swing alive across generations. His fiddle magic and endearing personality make him a fan favorite everywhere he plays.
Jason is a devoted husband and proud father of a daughter and two sons. When he’s not on the road, he makes his home in Austin, Texas.
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