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1990's Excerpt taken from Billboard supplement dated 1991:  

ROAD WIZARDS: The Ace In The Hole Band

Once upon a time, in 1975 in San Marcos, Texas, there was a band looking for a singer and a singer looking for a band.  One of them, or maybe both of them, put up a notice on the bulletin board at Southwest Texas State University.  

Steel guitar player Mike Daily,bass player Terry Hale, and then drummer Tommy Foote were players in a local band.  George Strait, fresh out of the Army and an agricultural student at the University was beginning a quest for a singing career.  They all met and the rest, as they say, is history. They began playing together and became a popular band around Houston, San Marcos and south Texas. Before Strait became a recording artist, the Ace In The Hole Band featuring George Strait relied on traditional country music, heavy on Texas swing, Bob Wills and Merle Haggard.  "Even then, George had a lot of musical integrity," says Foote.  "We lost a few jobs because we wouldn't play top 40 covers.  But we were a great Texas dance band." Foote says that the band knew that George had a better chance than most to "make it." "He had the voice, he had the looks and he was always focused. I saw the band as a way to keep from getting a job, and a way to meet girls.  George saw it as the future.  We knew that if the train were going to pull out of the station, he would be the engineer."

Though at one point Foote thought George was quitting and he'd be out of work, Norma Strait talked her husband into giving it one last shot.  He was signed to MCA in early 1981 and that summer the band came to Nashville to play nights at the Radisson Plaza while George recorded his first album. George and the band also performed three songs on the Fan Fair show.  "We played "Unwound" because that was the only record George had, and two others.  It went pretty well.  It was the first time we had ever played outside of Texas." 

In 1982, Foote gave up the sticks to become full-time road manager.  Piano player and now bandleader Ronnie Huckaby joined in 1983 and the rest followed. Rick McRae on lead guitar, David Anthony on Guitar and vocals,  utility man Benny McArthur on fiddle, guitar, and vocals, Gene Elders on fiddle and most recently, Mike Kennedy on drums.  Daily and Hale are the original Aces.  All hail from Texas but Anthony, the token Okie, and Gene Elders, the Illinois Yankee. 

The Ace In The Hole Band has long been considered one of the finest bands on the road today. Their musical prowess is routinely exalted in concert reviews.  Huckaby laughs modestly at the praise. "It's a compliment to us.  Gene was classically trained on the violin, but none of the rest of us has ever had lessons or training. " Huckaby says Strait likes the band to perform songs as close to the record as possible, but the piano player adds that they embellish a few songs.  The Ace In The Hole Band uses twin guitars on "The Fireman," for instance.  For the past couple of albums, the band has been invited to play on one or more album cuts.  Huckaby says that they are flattered. "It's an extra thing we hadn't planned on." 

There is no shortage of hits for George and the band to perform, but Huckaby says they all enjoy swing music and traditional country standards like "Folsom Prison Blues," "Milk Cow Blues," "Lovesick Blues," and "Big Balls In Cow Town." "It's a good time. We all get to get going. Everybody gets to play." 

Kay West  Publicist for George Strait  Nashville 

Betty and Gene Elders

This is the cover to the Band's album. The "Ace In The Hole Band" was named the 1995 Western Swing Group of the Year and presented with a "BOB" (as in Wills) Award the Band also has an album that was released in 1994 on Texas World Records.  Information on that album follows.

This was the article as printed in 'Strait Talk:' 

Texas World Records announces the release of "Ace In The Hole," the debut solo effort of George Strait's touring band, The Ace In The Hole Band.  The CD/cassette showcases the talents of one of the most acclaimed, versatile bands in country music -- winners of the 1991 SRO Touring Band of the year.  The ten song collection encompasses the musical spectrum from lively swing to tender ballads. 

Showcased is the diverse instrumental, vocal, and composing talents of  The Ace In The Hole Band.  From the traditional to the contemporary, Ace In The Hole captures the breadth of today's Country Music. 

Members of the Band, which formed in 1975 in San Marcos, Texas are; Rondal Huckaby on keyboards, Benny McArthur on lead guitar and fiddle, Rick McRae on lead guitar, Mike Daily on steel, Gene Elders on fiddle, Terry Hale on bass, David Anthony on acoustic guitar and Mike Kennedy on drums.  Joining the band on this project are musical legends Mel Tillis and Darrel McCall, who lend their distinctive vocal styles to two featured songs: "What Comes Natural To A Fool," and "My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You."  Additional vocals feature band members Benny McArthur and David Anthony.  Anthony, who wrote "You're Something Special To Me," a #1 hit for Strait in 1985, performs his tune in a unique style that pays tribute to Strait's version.  The Radio Western Swing favorite "Back in the Swing of Things" showcases this Band at their best.  The album was produced by former Warner Bros. producer Billy Stull and recorded in The Fire Station Studio in San Marcos, Texas. 

At last word the "Ace In The Hole" CD was available by calling toll free: 1-800-5-4-AN-ACE (542-6223) 

or by contacting Texas World Records at 512-396-3336. 

I recently found the Ace's album available on cassette for $16.98 at ""   Then under "Artist" I found that the album is available by cassette or CD. I am providing the link.  I have also listed my main "Ace In The Hole" page on that website.  



CD $14.99  ACE IN THE HOLE  Cassette $8.99  ACE IN THE HOLE  (Previews: 5 Songs) 1  Returning the Corn (2:45)      2  You're Something Special to Me (3:54)      3  Mirrors Don't Lie (3:14)      4  What Comes Natural to a Fool (2:45)      5  I'll Be Waiting Here Til Then (2:29)      6  Texas Bounce (3:25)      7  Back in the Swing of Things (2:55)      8  Difference Between Me and Him Is You (3:24)      9  My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You (2:50)      10  I'm Ragged But I'm Right (2:32)       Album Credits      Benny McArthur  Guitar (Electric), Vocals, Vocals (Background), Fiddle    Mike Kennedy  Drums    Tom Foote  Project Coordinator    Billy Stull  Producer    Lucky Tomblin  Executive Producer    Don Anders  Photography    Ace in the Hole Band  Main Performer    David Anthony  Vocals, Guitar (Acoustic)    Bobby Arnold  Engineer    Mike Daily  Guitar (Steel)    Terry Hale  Bass    Ronnie Huckaby  Keyboards   I'm always looking for good photos of the guys, or for old or new articles - if you have some articles please contact me.  I can type them up or scan them and return the original.  If you have some photos you'd like to have displayed here please contact me, I can scan them and return them to you.

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