Oak Ridge Boys back for second fair appearance

July 18, 2019

The Oak Ridge Boys from left: Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban.

By Pat Maurer

A press release says, “The Oak Ridge Boys high-energy stage show remains the heart and soul of what they do best.” Their Clare County Fair performance on July 26th will feature classic Gospel, Country and Patriotic music.

This will be their second appearance at the fair since the 1993 performance in front of a record crowd.

 They will also be performing some material from their new Lighting Rod Records album 17th Avenue Revival, released last year and produced by the critically acclaimed producer Dave Cobb, the press release said.

 “Cobb, who produces Chris Stapleton, had a special vision for the album. His vision for the group was to dig way back into their roots of gospel music, but a different kind of gospel. One that took a hard look at the early days of rock and roll, which was influenced by spiritual or black gospel.” 
 Aaron Badgley with Spill Magazine wrote “this is a brilliant and an important album. The Oak Ridge Boys have a lot to say and they use the medium of the album to say it. 17th Avenue Revival is a stunning album that should not be ignored, and much like Cash’s work in his later years, this will be seen as a classic in years to come.”

The “Oaks,” which include Richard Sterban, William Lee Golden, Duane Allen and Joe Bonsall, have one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry and comprise one of Country’s truly legendary acts.

When I go on stage, I get the same feeling I had the first time I sang with The Oak Ridge Boys,” lead singer Duane said. “This is the only job I’ve ever wanted to have.”

“I feel like I can do what I do on stage just as good now as I could 20 years ago,” said Joe. “I plan to be rockin’ my tail off out there as long as I’m healthy. The people who come out, who bring their families to see us, deserve everything I’ve got.”

Bass singer “Sterban” said, “I think our stage show is one of the reasons for our continuity. We’re still having fun doing this. We love what we do. Getting on stage and bringing our music to people is still what we live for.”
In a phone interview Tuesday, Sterban said he has been with the group since 1972. He said Golden was the first of the four to join in 1965; Allen joined in 1966 and Bonsall joined in 1973. “We’ve been singing together for 46 years,” he said.

He said the group dates back to World War II when it was known as the Georgia Clodhoppers. “We would go to Oak Ridge, Tennessee where the Manhattan Project was developing the Atom bomb. They couldn’t leave the site and we were cleared to go there and entertain the employees. They started calling us the Oak Ridge Quartet.” He said the name was the Oak Ridge Quartet until the late 1950s when the group was disbanded and reorganized as The Oak Ridge Boys.

“When we walk on stage, we bring that history with us,” Sterban said.
He said they are planning on a “good night of country music and family entertainment” when they come to the fair. He said, “We’re calling it [the tour] the “Shine the Light Tour.”

“We are looking forward to coming your way [to Harrison],” he said. “We plan to have a good time.”

He continued, “When we come to town, people will hear a lot of our hits songs including our signature song, Elvira; one of the most requested songs Thank God for Kids; and our first hit, Y’all come back Saloon.”

Sterban said, “We have a lot of friends and fans in Michigan and we love it here. We have performed all over the state including in the Upper Peninsula.”

“Like everyone else in the group,” adds Sterban, “I was a fan of the Oaks before I became a member. I’m still a fan of the group today. Being in The Oak Ridge Boys is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.”

The two, along with tenor Joe Bonsall and baritone William Lee Golden, comprise one of Country’s truly legendary acts.

Besides the tunes mentioned by Sterban, The Oak Ridge Boys’ string of hits includes Bobbie Sue, Dream On,  American Made, I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes, Fancy Free, Gonna Take A Lot of River and many others. They’ve scored 12 gold, three platinum, and one double platinum album, plus one double platinum single, and had more than a dozen national Number One singles and over 30 Top Ten hits.

Their press release added, “The four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of the Oak Ridge Boys have garnered a host of industry and fan accolades including Grammy, Dove, ACM, and CMA awards. In 2008 they were awarded the coveted Academy of Country Music Pioneer Award. Every time they step before an audience, the Oaks bring three decades of charted singles, and 50 years of tradition, to bear on a stage show widely acknowledged as among the most exciting anywhere.”

“They’ve scored 12 gold, three platinum, and one double platinum album, plus one double platinum single, and had more than a dozen national Number One singles and over 30 Top Ten hits as well as garnered a host of additional industry and fan accolades.

October 25, 2015, The Oak Ridge Boys were honored with induction into the esteemed and elite Country Music Hall of Fame.”

The Oak Ridge Boys’ official website is http://oakridgeboys.com/http://oakridgeboys.com

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