Celebrating Bob Wills Day: The King of Western Swing Lives On In Oklahoma

"King of Western Swing" Bob Wills is gone but his influence continues with a new generation.

Monday, March 4th 2024, 3:55 pm

It is Bob Wills Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol. 

The "King of Western Swing" passed away nearly 50 years ago, but bands today keep his sound alive.

Over the weekend the Bob Wills' Texas Playboys led by two-time Grammy winner Jason Roberts performed at Cain's Ballroom.

"The history of what we do matches right up with Cain's ballroom," Roberts continued saying, "Bob Wills made it famous here and it is the 100th birthday of Cain's ballroom and the 90th of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys."

The historic Tulsa music venue is where the famous fiddler and the original Texas Playboys popularized a sound called Western Swing.

"It is timeless music and everybody is dancing, patting their foot, and having a good time," said Roberts.

His band then took the turnpike to Oklahoma City for the Bob Wills Day celebration in the Capitol's second-floor rotunda.

the Oklahoma Arts Council and Oklahoma Historical Society hosted the event and Wills' daughter Carolyn Wills and his granddaughter Andrea Ruby were in the crowd. The Bob Wills' Texas Playboys performed classic Western swing hits while folks, including Ruby, danced across the rotunda floor. 


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