Western Swing Embroidered Shirt

Custom made for pianist Floyd Domino for Asleep at the Wheel’s 25th Anniversary

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This shirt was made by artist Susan Penn for western swing pianist Floyd Domino (b. 1952), who wore it at Asleep at the Wheel’s 25th Anniversary performance on Austin City Limits in 1996. The 25th Anniversary concert included appearances by former band members, like Domino, as well as special guests Willie Nelson, Tracy Byrd, Charlie Daniels, Wade Hayes, and Delbert McClinton.

Clothing artist Susan Penn made several pieces for Domino and the band over the years, paying meticulous attention to detail on each piece. She put a lot of thought into selecting the perfect garment style, buttons, thread color, and embroidered designs to reflect the wearer. The hand-embroidered designs on this western-style shirt are nods to Domino and his music, like dominoes on the cuffs and piano keys and swing dancers on the shoulders. Penn was embarrassed to discover she made a mistake on the music staff — there should be five lines instead of six. She offered to make Domino a new shirt, but he insisted on keeping this one. He thought the mistake made the shirt even more unique and joked that the staff should have six lines anyway.

Domino, the stage name of Jim Haber, started his music career in 1972 when the then-19-year-old joined country group Asleep at the Wheel. The band first formed in 1969 in Paw Paw, Virginia, but moved to Oakland, California, the following year. Domino, a California native, joined the band during their Oakland years. Over Domino’s six year tenure with Asleep at the Wheel, they released their debut album, moved to Austin, had several hits on the country charts, won a Grammy, played Austin City Limits, and were voted Best Country Western Band by Rolling Stone and Best Touring Band by the Academy of Country Music.

In the years following, Domino has built a successful solo and studio career, recording and performing with George Strait, Merle Haggard, The Texas Playboys, Waylon Jennings, and jazz guitarist Herb Ellis, to name a few. He has also released six solo albums and has continued to occasionally play with Asleep at the Wheel.

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Western Swing Embroidered Shirt Artifact from Austin
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