A Piece of History
Theirs is one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry. The four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of Country hits and a Number One Pop smash, earned them Grammy, Dove, CMA, and ACM awards and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades. Every time they step before an audience, the Oaks bring four decades of charted singles, and 50 years of tradition, to a stage show widely acknowledged as among the most exciting anywhere. And each remains as enthusiastic about the process as they have ever been.
“When I go on stage, I get the same feeling I had the first time I sang with The Oak Ridge Boys,” says lead singer Duane Allen. “This is the only job I've ever wanted to have.”
“Like everyone else in the group,” adds bass singer extraordinaire, Richard 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. Their string of hits includes the Country-Pop chart-topper Elvira, as well as Bobbie Sue, Dream On, Thank God For Kids, American Made, I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes, Fancy Free, Gonna Take A Lot Of River and many others. In 2009, they covered a White Stripes song, receiving accolades from Rock reviewers. In 2011, they rerecorded a thirtieth anniversary version of Elvira for a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store project.
The group has 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.
Gospel Music Roots
The Oaks represent a tradition that extends back to World War II. The original group, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, began performing Country and Gospel music in nearby Oak Ridge where the atomic bomb was being developed. They called themselves the Oak Ridge Quartet, and they began regular Grand Ole Opry appearances in the fall of ‘45. In the mid-fifties, they were featured in Time magazine as one of the top drawing Gospel groups in the nation.
By the late ‘60s, with more than 30 members having come and gone, they had a lineup that included Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, Noel Fox, and Willie Wynn. Among the Oaks’ many acquaintances in the Gospel field were Bonsall, a streetwise Philadelphia kid who embraced Gospel music; and Sterban, who was singing in quartets and holding down a job as a men’s clothing salesman. Both admired the distinctive, highly popular Oaks.
“They were the most innovative quartet in Gospel music,” says Bonsall. “They performed Gospel with a Rock approach, had a full band, wore bell-bottom pants and grew their hair long...things unheard of at the time.”
The four became friends, and when the Oaks needed a bass and tenor in ‘72 and ’73, respectively, Sterban and Bonsall got the calls. For a while, the group remained at the pinnacle of the Gospel music circuit. It was there they refined the strengths that would soon make them an across-the-board attraction.
“We did a lot of package shows,” says Bonsall. “There was an incredible amount of competition. You had to blow people away to sell records and get invited back.”
Their Gospel sound had a distinct Pop edge to it and, although it made for excitement and crowd appeal, it also ruffled purist feathers and left promoters unsure about the Oaks’ direction. Then in 1975, the Oaks were asked to open a number of dates for Roy Clark. Clark’s manager, Jim Halsey, was impressed by their abilities.
“He came backstage and told us we were three-and-a-half minutes (meaning one hit record) away from being a major act,” says Bonsall. “He said we had one of the most dynamic stage shows he’d ever seen but that we had to start singing Country songs.”
They took his advice and the result was a breakthrough.
“Those who came to Country music with or after the New Traditionalists of the mid-eighties cannot possibly imagine the impact the Oaks had in 1977, when they lit up the sky from horizon to horizon with Y’All Come Back Saloon,” wrote Billboard’s Ed Morris. He added, “...the vocal intensity the group brought to it instantly enriched and enlivened the perilously staid Country format. These guys were exciting.”
The Oaks branch out
Their career has spanned not only decades, but also formats. In 1977, Paul Simon tapped the Oaks to sing backup for his hit Slip Slidin’ Away, and they went on to record with George Jones, Brenda Lee, Johnny Cash, Roy Rogers, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bill Monroe, Ray Charles and even Shooter Jennings, the son of their old friend Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. Most recently, the group recorded a duet with Merle Haggard for their 2015 Rock of Ages hymns and Gospel favorites album.
They produced one of the first Country music videos. In 1977, Easy, although not released in the U.S., reached the Number Three slot in Australia. They participated in the first American popular music headline tour in the USSR.
The Oak Ridge Boys have appeared before five presidents. And they have become one of the most enduringly successful touring groups anywhere, still performing some 150 dates each year at major theaters, fairs, and festivals across the U.S. and Canada.
They did it with a consistently upbeat musical approach and terrific business savvy.
“We always look for songs that have lasting value and that are uplifting,” says Allen, who co-produced many of the Oaks’ recent studio albums. “You don’t hear us singing ‘cheating’ or ‘drinking’ songs, but ‘loving’ songs, because we think that will last. We also don‘t put music in categories, except for ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ When we get through with it, it’s probably going to sound like an Oak Ridge Boys song no matter what it is.”
They proved their business acumen in any number of ways, including such steps as declining the chance to sit on the couch during their many appearances on the Tonight Show.
“We said, ‘If you‘re going to give us four minutes on the couch with Johnny, we’d rather have four minutes to give you another song that lets people know what got us here,’” says Allen. “We didn’t get here talking; we got here singing.”
They also proved themselves to be capable and tireless advocates of charitable and civic causes, serving as spokesmen and/or board members of fundraisers for the Boy Scouts of America, the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse (now, Prevent Child Abuse America), Feed The Children, the National Anthem Project and many more.
The group’s first personnel change in many years occurred in 1987 when Steve Sanders, who had been playing guitar in the Oaks Band, replaced William Lee as the baritone singer. Late in ‘95, Steve resigned from the Oaks and exactly one minute after midnight on New Year’s Eve, Duane, Joe and Richard surprised a packed house at the Holiday Star Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana, by welcoming William Lee on stage and back into the group. The hit makers were finally together again!
The Oaks’ high-energy stage show remains the heart and soul of what they do, and they refine it several times a year, striving to keep it fresh well into the future.
“We‘re not willing to rest on our laurels,” Golden says. “That gets boring. As a group, we do things constantly to challenge ourselves, to try to do something different or better than the last time we did it.”
“I feel like I can do what I do on stage just as good now as I could 20 years ago,” says Bonsall. “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.”
“We’ve experienced a lot of longevity,” adds Sterban. “I think the reason is the love we have for what we do—the desire, the longing to actually get up there and do it. We love to sing together...to harmonize together. It’s what our lives are all about.”
“Back” to the future
In 2009, the group recorded a CD, The Boys Are Back, with 34-year-old, Pop-Rock producer Dave Cobb. Cobb encouraged them to stretch musically.
“Seven Nation Army was Dave’s first idea out of the shoot. He said he envisioned us singing where The White Stripes and Jack White do the instrumental parts. It turned out incredibly well,” Bonsall says. “The project is diverse and includes an old spiritual from the Smithsonian archives, God’s Gonna Ease Your Troublin’ Mind, as well as a new Jamey Johnson-penned, soon-to-be-classic called Mama’s Table.”
The Oaks’ new music attracted the attention of a younger audience, while reminding dedicated fans that their favorite group is ever-evolving.
“When we throw those songs at the audience, it's fun to watch their reaction. The cool thing is they're loving it.” Bonsall says. “We don't give it any introduction; we just go straight into each song. We did Seven Nation Army in Minnesota a few weeks ago and got a standing ovation. The younger kids in the audience were freaking out.”
Duane Allen, who is Executive Producer for the project, adds, “We went to California to get a Rock and Roll producer who brought us back home to the very roots of our music, which is Gospel mixed with Country, Blues, and Rock and Roll.”
Golden describes the new project as a “musical journey.”
Sterban agrees. “I think David took us down some roads we might not have traveled on our own. The music may be different but he did not try to change us, he challenged us.”
Many have labeled the Oaks’ path as one similar to what Johnny Cash traveled with producer Rick Rubin. The Oak Ridge Boys find that analogy appropriate, almost sentimental, because Cash was one of their earliest supporters and a longtime friend.
“Back when we were struggling in the early 1970’s, Johnny Cash encouraged us. He booked us on his show in Las Vegas, and he paid us too much money. But his belief in us was the most important thing. He sat us down and told us, ‘Boys, you think it’s rough right now, but there’s magic in the four of you. I can feel that magic. I know there is magic there. Don’t break up.’”
And the rest is history.
It’s Only Natural
In 2011, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store asked The Oak Ridge Boys to record an album with a blend of previously recorded and brand new songs. The result was It’s Only Natural, a twelve-track CD with seven rerecorded hits, including the group’s multi-platinum, Country-Pop hit Elvira, and five new songs.
Veteran Oaks’ producer Ron Chancey returned to the studio with the group to produce Elvira and two new songs, and the team of Duane Allen and Michael Sykes reunited to produce the remaining nine. The album debuted on September 19, a month after the Oaks were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
While the combination of Oak Ridge Boys and Cracker Barrel is “only natural,” the Oaks stretched—yet again—and invited YouTube sensation Keenan Cahill to join them on what would become a viral music video for their first single from the project. What’cha Gonna Do? was released to country radio in November 2011 and received widespread acceptance on national grass roots and Music Row charts.
In early 2014—forty-one years after Duane, Joe, Richard, and William Lee first stepped onstage together as a group—they celebrated 41 million, RIAA-certified records sold by signing a new record deal with Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records. Their first release from Cleopatra, Boys Night Out, is a 14-song live project, which was released April 15, 2014. It’s the first live country hits recording ever to be released by The Oak Ridge Boys as they continue to make history.
That history will now forever be enshrined in the hallowed halls of the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee, where The Oak Ridge Boys—Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban—were inducted on October 25, 2015.
Country Music Hall of Fame Modern Era Inductees 2015
Few Country Music groups have had the enduring popularity, cultural significance or crossover success of The Oak Ridge Boys, a vocal harmony quartet that started out in traditional country and gospel during World War II and evolved with the times to help popularize and modernize Country Music far beyond traditional genre and regional lines.
The group went through numerous lineup changes in its early decades before Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban took control in the 1960s and early 1970s and turned it into a dynamic Country Music force. The alignment focused on high-energy vocal harmonies that brought crowds to their feet with increasingly secular music and a look and attitude that more accurately reflected the times, characterized by Golden’s still-magnificent flowing beard and fur coats.
The Oaks’ contemporary look, and their increasing focus on modern Country suggested by Jim Halsey, who would soon become their career manager, didn’t sit well with traditionalists, and the group struggled for a few years in the early 1970s. It wasn’t until the release of the 1977 album Y’All Come Back Saloon that the Oaks hit the right formula, and when they did their popularity soared.
They landed their first No. 1, “I’ll Be True To You,” in 1978 and, perhaps just as significantly, Paul Simon asked the group to sing backup on what would become his hit “Slip Slidin’ Away,” opening the door to the pop world for them. Simon wasn’t the only one to lean on their harmony. They accompanied Brenda Lee on her Grammy Award-nominated “Broken Trust” (1980); George Jones on his Country smash “Same Ole Me” (1982); and they also have harmonized behind Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bill Monroe and Leon Russell, among many others.
National audiences learned the joy of the Oaks’ harmonies when the group’s biggest hit, 1981’s “Elvira,” became a crossover pop smash with bass singer Sterban’s unforgettable “oom papa oom papa mau mau” refrain. The song brought them one of their five Grammy Awards, went double Platinum and helped bring much-needed fun to a genre that had a reputation for weepers and hard times.
The inescapable “Elvira” propelled the Oaks’ 1981 album Fancy Free to double Platinum. They followed a year later with another crossover hit, “Bobbie Sue,” and the album of the same title went Gold, as have many others in the group’s catalog. Their 1980 and 1984 Greatest Hits albums are Platinum. All in all, the current lineup has scored 17 No. 1 hits, released more than 40 albums, and achieved sales greater than 41 million albums.
The Oaks’ classics include “Trying To Love Two Women,” “Beautiful You,” “Fancy Free,” “I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes,” “Make My Life With You,” “Touch A Hand, Make A Friend,” and “It Takes A Little Rain (To Make Love Grow).”
The Oak Ridge Boys’ “American Made” became a national ad jingle. Their “Thank God For Kids” is considered a Country standard. And their recording of “Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight” helped launch the songwriting career of Rodney Crowell.
The group also helped open the doors for Country Music on network television, with a number of nationally-televised concerts, including HBO and PBS specials, and as hosts and performers on prime time. They hosted their own series, The Oak Ridge Boys Live From Las Vegas, for TNN in the late 1990s.
The quartet is one of the most enduring in music and had a long history and dozens of members before the tenures of Allen (born April 29, 1943 in Taylortown, Texas), Bonsall (born May 18, 1948 in Philadelphia), Golden (born January 12, 1939 in Brewton, Ala.) and Sterban (born April 24, 1943 in Camden, N.J.) began. Founder Wally Fowler started the group in 1943 in Knoxville, Tenn., as part of The Georgia Clodhoppers. They were hired to perform for the restricted staff and their families at the nearby Oak Ridge nuclear research facility. They appeared there so often, they eventually changed their name to the Oak Ridge Quartet in 1945, the year they began performing on the Grand Ole Opry.
The Oak Ridge Boys – the rebranded group – have received 15 CMA Awards nominations and won two: Vocal Group of the Year in 1978 and Single of the Year in 1981 for “Elvira” (the group’s backing band won CMA Instrumental Group of the Year in 1978 and 1986). The Oaks were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Bonsall and Sterban were inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame in 1994. Golden received the Alabama Music Hall of Fame’s Life Work Award for Performing Achievement in 1997. And Duane Allen was honored with induction into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame last year.
The Oak Ridge Boys have participated in decades of philanthropic endeavors including Feed the Children, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
~ Wendy Pearl
Country Music Hall of Fame Event Introduction
Script for The Oak Ridge Boys’ introduction at the Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony, hosted by Jody Williams, Sunday evening, October 25, 2015 at the CMA Theater, Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville, Tennessee
Duane Allen… Born in Taylortown, Texas.
Richard Sterban… Born in Camden, New Jersey, the city where Jimmie Rodgers recorded his first blue yodel.
Joe Bonsall… Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
William Lee Golden… Born in Brewton, Alabama.
Without music, these men would never have known each other… They would have led separate lives, in separate places… With music, they are bound, permanently….
When their four voices joined in harmony, they created a fifth voice, instantly identifiable and resounding. And that fifth voice… well, it sounded famous.
These men were drawn together first by their love of gospel quartet singing, particularly to an exuberant quartet that began in 1945 as Wally Fowler’s Oak Ridge Quartet, and that permanently changed its name in 1966 to the Oak Ridge Boys…
The Oak Ridge Boys were heavy on excitement, heavy on showmanship. They would get worked up and toss garments into the crowd. The great Don Light, the group’s talent agent, said, “Gospel music isn’t a jacket-throwing competition… But if it was, the Oak Ridge Boys would’ve won.”
William Lee Golden joined the group in 1965. The next year, Duane Allen joined. In 1972, Richard Sterban joined. The next year, Joe Bonsall came onboard.
And, encouraged by manager Jim Halsey, the quartet began thinking beyond gospel. Nashville record executives were reluctant to take a chance…
A gospel quartet singing country music? Isn’t there already a Statler Brothers?
But Jim Foglesong, the gentleman executive at ABC/Dot Records who is now a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, heard promise. The Oak Ridge Boys, he surmised, were too good to fail. The Oak Ridge Boys, he thought, sounded famous.
And Jim Foglesong was right. In 1977, they hit the Top five with “Y’all Come Back Saloon.” A year later, they topped the country chart with “I’ll Be True To You.”
The Oak Ridge Boys were off to the races. Seventeen #1 singles. Thirty seven Top 20 country hits.
“Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.”
High-production, arena-ready stage shows. Generations of fans. Twelve gold, three platinum, and one double-platinum album…
And always, that harmony…
That fifth, famous, voice…
Rooted in gospel…
Positive in perspective…
And, whether singing songs of faith, or love songs, or the national anthem at hundreds of sporting events, or the giddy-ups that precede the oom pa pa’s and the mow-mow’s….
To a world that’s rife with dissonance.
Tonight, we thank them for their fifth voice…
And we cheer their entry into the Country Music Hall of Fame…
PERSONAL APPEARANCES The Oak Ridge Boys work more than 150 personal appearances each year, ranging from giant state fairs to symphony halls, auditoriums, festivals and arenas nationwide.
MODE OF TRAVEL Two customized Prevost buses.
ENTOURAGE The Oak Ridge Boys’ tours are comprised of some 20 men, ten performers along with a road manager, stage manager, lighting and sound technicians, and other crew.
CORPORATE OFFICE Oak Ridge Boys, Inc., 88 New Shackle Island Road, Hendersonville, TN 37075. Phone: 615-824-4924. Fax: 615-822-7078. E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.oakridgeboys.com
MANAGEMENT Jim Halsey, The Halsey Company, 3225 South Norwood, Tulsa, OK 74135. Phone: 918-628-0400. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring Hill Music, Inc., 101 Winners Circle, Ste. 123, Brentwood, TN 37027. Phone: 615-383-5535. Fax: 615-383-6632
Cleopatra Records, 11041 Santa Monica Blvd., #703, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Phone: 310-477-4000
BOOKING/TV/CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP William Morris Endeavor, 1600 Division Street, Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37203. Phone: 615-963-3000. Fax: 615-963-3090. Website: www.wmeentertainment.com
PUBLIC RELATIONS/NATIONAL Kirt Webster, Webster & Associates, LLC, P.O. Box 23015, Nashville, TN 37202. Phone: 615-777-6995; Fax 615-369-2515. E-mail: email@example.com
PUBLIC RELATIONS/TOUR PRESS Sanford Brokaw, The Brokaw Company, 9255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 804, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Phone: 310-273-2060. Fax: 310-276-4037. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FAN CLUB The Oak Ridge Boys International Fan Club, www.oakridgeboys.com. E-mail: ORBIFC@oakridgeboys.com
PAST CORPORATE ENDORSEMENTS The BluBlocker Corporation; Pillsbury/Totino’s Pizza; Ralston-Purina; AT&T; Dr. Pepper
INTERNATIONAL APPEARANCES Belgium, Canada, England, Finland, France, Monaco, Norway, Soviet Union, Sweden, Switzerland, West Germany
COMMAND PERFORMANCES King Gustaf of Sweden, Her Royal Highness Princess Caroline of Monaco, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of Great Britain, President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush, President and Mrs. Bill Clinton, President and Mrs. George W. Bush
TELEVISION APPEARANCES (PARTIAL LIST) The Oak Ridge Boys have hosted a number of nationally-televised concert specials, including Let Freedom Sing, Holiday Colors, From The Heart, and Christmas Cookies for Feed The Children. The group’s 2014 A Salute to Christmas special, produced in conjunction with The American Legion won a 2015 Telly Award. In the past, the Oaks also hosted a popular series for The Nashville Network (TNN), The Oak Ridge Boys Live From Las Vegas. Additionally, PBS and HBO have produced and aired Oak Ridge Boys specials.
A short list of other televison appearances includes: History Channel’s Pawn Stars; Diners, Drive-ins and Dives for the Food Network; Fox & Friends; CBS Early Show; Hannity & Colmes; Deborah Norville Tonight (MSNBC); American Bandstand’s 30th Anniversary; ABC’s 20/20; Good Morning America; Tonight Show; Regis & Kathie Lee; Grammy Awards; American Music Awards; Country Music Association Awards; Academy of Country Music Awards; TNN/Music City News Awards; Viewers Choice Awards; Entertainment Tonight; New Year’s Rockin’ Eve; TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes; Wolftrap Salutes ASCAP (PBS Great American Performances); The Bush Presidential Inaugural Gala; The World’s Largest Concert for PBS; *Crook & Chase; *Nashville Now; and *Prime Time Country. *The Oak Ridge Boys were occasional guest hosts for these shows.
PHILANTHROPIC ACTIVITIES Over the years, the group has been active in diverse humanitarian activities. They helped build a Habitat for Humanity house in Kentucky. In 1997-1998, they lent their name to the American Forests Country Music Tree Series, a national non-profit conservation organization. They served as Honorary Chairmen of the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse (now Prevent Child Abuse America), 1985-88.
They recorded jingles and a television commercial as spokesmen for the Boy Scouts of America. They were featured in government campaigns such as Take Pride In America (U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture); the Tennessee Adopt-A-Highway Program; and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Buckle-Up Campaign. And they were featured in a national Tennessee Tourism campaign.
In 1985, the Oaks represented all of American music at the grand opening of the Acropolis in Nice, France, where they donated their performance fee to the international relief organization Feed The Children. The money was used to drill four water wells in the Rift Valley of Kenya. Through their work with Feed the Children, the Oaks helped collect an estimated three million pounds of food for the needy.
In 2005, the group agreed to act as “musical ambassadors” for the three-year National Anthem Project, sponsored by MENC (The National Association For Music Education).
The Oaks have also donated their time to perform at several domestic military bases—from Fort Knox to Camp Lejeune—on behalf of the Spirit of America Tour.
In 2007, the Oak Ridge Boys joined a public campaign to establish a National War Dogs Monument in our nation’s capital to honor the service and sacrifice of U. S. military working dog teams since WWI. The bill (H.R. 1585, Sec. 2877), originally introduced by Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina, was approved by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush.
In conjunction with their 2011 The Boys Are Back for Christmas Tour, the Oaks partnered with Save the Children to help raise money and awareness for the needs of disadvantaged children across the U.S. and internationally, and in 2013 the group began working with Compassion International, the world's largest Christian child development organization, founded in 1952, that permanently releases children from poverty. Compassion successfully tackles global poverty one child at a time, serving more than 1.2 million children in 26 of the world's poorest countries.
In 2014, The American Legion and the Oaks united to raise awareness and support for the needs of U.S. military veterans, including better detection and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), help with the VA benefits process, and education and career opportunities for those who served our nation in uniform.
A native of Taylortown, Texas, Duane (“Ace”) Allen had formal training in both operatic and quartet singing before becoming a member of the Oaks in 1966. He is a member of the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame and has written a book on the history of Gospel music. He also holds an honorary doctorate from a Christian college.
Duane graduated from Paris Junior College, and then Texas A&M University at Commerce, Texas. He received a B.S. in Music from Texas A&M, studying with Metropolitan Opera stars Richard Webb and William Abbott. For his classical music degree, Duane concentrated on voice, piano, and composition. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from both Paris Junior College and Texas A&M. He and his wife Norah Lee underwrite a scholarship fund for Texas A&M University Department of Music students.
During the time he studied at Paris Junior College, two operettas were written based on Duane’s life—one entitled “College Go Round” and the other entitled “Let’s See Paree (Paris).” He received a music scholarship to Texas A&M, and while he was a student there he starred in a lead role of “Annie Get Your Gun.” He also sang in an elite chorale group, which toured through the United States, as well as internationally.
In 2014, Duane received a special honor from his hometown community of Cunningham, Texas. On April 15, Lamar County officials dedicated the Duane Allen Memorial Bridge on the newly designated Duane Allen Road. The bridge crosses the Big Sandy Creek just a few hundred yards from where Duane was born and raised on the Allen family farm. While in Lamar County for the event, Duane and Norah Lee presented a check to the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial in Paris, Texas. Proceeds were used to support the memorial and to honor family members who had served in the military.
On August 9, 2014, Duane was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony that included fellow members of The Oak Ridge Boys, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban as honorary inductees. An Oak Ridge Boys’ exhibit at the Hall of Fame was unveiled the same day.
Back in Hendersonville, Tennessee, where Duane and his family have lived for more than 40 years, he enjoys spending time on his 72-acre farm, which has been the home to a menagerie of animals, from beef cattle to horses, burros, and Canada geese.
A superb businessman, he is credited with keeping the Oaks on firm financial footing during their switch from Gospel to Country in the late 1970s. He also loves to find new music for the group. Since the new millennium, he has taken on the role of co-producer and executive producer. He co-produced, with Michael Sykes, eight of the group’s Spring Hill/Gaither Music albums and nine tracks on the 2011 It’s Only Natural album for Cracker Barrel. He is the executive producer of The Boys Are Back CD (produced by David Cobb) and the Back Home Again CD (produced by Ben Isaacs), as well as co-producer, along with Ben Isaacs, of the Oaks’ 2012 Christmas Time’s A-Coming album and Rock of Ages, the group's 2015 hymns and gospel favorites project for Gaither Music. Duane also produced the Oaks’ first live “Country hits” album, Boys Night Out, which released from Cleopatra Records in April 2014.
To relax and stay in physical shape, he walks 20-30 miles each week and works out with a personal trainer. He is also an avid basketball fan and enjoys shooting hoops whenever he gets the chance. Duane is an antique car buff. He has more than two-dozen classics in a collection that is housed in a museum he calls Ace On Wheels.
“It’s a great way to relax,” he says of the restoration process. “I get a lot of pleasure out of going down there and sanding and painting with no real sense of urgency.”
Duane and his wife, Norah Lee, raised two children, Jamie and Dee, and now enjoy spending time with their two grandsons, March and Kell, and two granddaughters, Texas LeeAnna and Tallant. Duane’s children, as well as his grandchildren, are also gifted in music.
Joe’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, background shows through clearly in his love of the Philadelphia Phillies. According to him, “I live and die with the Phillies, no matter where they are. 1993 was great for me; one of the highlights was going home to Philadelphia and taking my parents to two World Series games. That was so cool.”
Now a Nashvillian for almost four decades, Joe is also a Tennessee Titans football fan. He and his wife Mary attend Titans’ games whenever he is in town.
Joe is an avid writer and songwriter. He became a published children’s book author in 1997 with The Molly Books, a four-book series published by Ideal’s Children’s Books. In 2003, New Leaf Press published G. I. Joe and Lillie: Remembering a Life of Love and Loyalty, an inspirational biography Joe penned about his parents. His song by the same name was included on the Oaks’ Colors album, released the same year. A music video of the song reemerged in the summer of 2009 and became a YouTube phenomenon with more than five million views. His new book, On the Road with The Oak Ridge Boys, will release from Harvest House Publishers in May 2015.
Joe also wrote the title song to the Oaks’ The Journey album, as well as the text for the Oaks’ coffee table book, An American Journey. New Leaf also published his Christmas story, An Inconvenient Christmas. In September 2010, Journey Press, a division of Sheaf House, released his latest hardbound book, From My Perspective, a collection of commentaries, stories and other writings. Christmas Miracles, a collection of short stories and commentaries, originally published in 2008, was updated in 2012.
For relaxation, Joe retreats to his farm on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line and can often be found on his John Deere tractor mowing part of his 350-acres—or sitting on his front porch and playing his banjo, an instrument he has played for almost eleven years! He plays a step-out lead on the Oaks’ new Rock of Ages CD.
Joe joined the Oaks in 1973. As with the other group members, much of his time is spent on the road performing, but Joe has found his own way to get the maximum possible enjoyment out of touring.
“My life is really pretty simple,” says the Oak who is the principal spokesman on stage. “I go out there and try to sing the best I can and give them physically and mentally every single thing I’ve got. When it’s done, I go back to my room, call home, eat my pizza or sushi, get on my Apple laptop, watch the sports scores and say to myself, ‘Hey, I’ve done what I’m supposed to be doin’ and I feel great about it.’”
Joe has two daughters, Jennifer and Sabrina, and two grandchildren, Breanne and Luke. He and Mary also have six cats, Sunny, Sally Ann, Baybe’, Blackie, Crockett, and Mitty.
Joe’s personal web address is www.josephsbonsall.com.
William Lee Golden
For the first time in a long time, William Lee Golden has a spring in his step. Coming out of a tumultuous period in his life, the iconic baritone vocalist has found the love of his life in his new girlfriend, Simone. He’s also comfortable with his place in the world as part of the iconic Oak Ridge Boys, who are celebrating their 42nd Anniversary together in 2015, while Golden’s celebrating his 50th anniversary since joining with the iconic group.
Doo-wop, Pop, Country
A farmer’s son, Golden spent the early years of his life in rural south Alabama surrounded by music. As he grew up, he started singing at the age of seven and began performing regularly on his grandfather’s weekly radio show along with his sister, Lanette. It was there that his love of harmony came alive and by his teenage years Golden grew to appreciate the Country, Gospel, Doo-Wop, and Pop quartets, and sure enough, it wasn’t long before he was joining up with The Oak Ridge Boys.
Nobody back home in Brewton, Alabama could’ve imagined back then all that Golden would accomplish with The Oak Ridge Boys since joining the band in 1965. While on a break from the quartet, Golden released several solo recordings to considerable success.
But for as much success as he has had as a recording artist, Golden’s no one-dimensional act. He’s found considerable success with his paintings and he’s finding even more success with a new visual medium, photography, where he often focuses on landscape portraits and scenes. Many of his favorite shots can be found on Golden’s personal Facebook page.
Family has long held a special meaning to Golden. In addition to his newly found love with his wife, Simone, Golden has four sons in Rusty, Chris, Craig and Solomon. Golden also his six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
For further information about William Lee Golden, please visit his website at www.williamleegolden.com.
Richard began his singing career as a six-year-old soprano in Sunday school in his native Camden, New Jersey. He was a tenor in the glee club in seventh grade, but when he returned for eighth grade in the fall, he was a bass!
He loved sports and music, decided he had more talent for the latter, and developed a simple goal: “I wanted to be in the best vocal group in the world.”
Prior to joining The Oak Ridge Boys in 1972, Richard sang with various groups, eventually joining J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, which afforded him the opportunity of a lifetime—the chance to sing with Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll, singing with him every night on stage, recording with him, and appearing in one of his movies (Elvis on Tour). It was during this time in the midst of Elvis’ heyday that Richard was offered the position as bass singer for The Oak Ridge Boys, and he had to make a major decision—remain on the big stage or chase his own dream. This period of Richard’s life is covered in detail in his book, From Elvis to Elvira, co-written with Steven Robinson. The book includes many great Elvis stories and stories about The Oak Ridge Boys that have never been told.
Baseball has also been a longtime passion for Richard. For many years, as a part owner of the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers AAA club), he attended spring training and took bus trips with the team. He now serves as the team’s “official ambassador,” attends games when he is in town during the season, and often does color commentary. A long-time fan of the Vanderbilt Commodores, he also does color commentary for the school’s baseball team.
Richard’s well-tailored clothing reveals one of his other loves.
“When I was singing part-time and working in a clothing store,” he recalls, “I developed a real interest in fashion, and it’s something that has carried through.”
He also enjoys fine restaurants, collecting wine, and traveling—particularly to the seashore, where he likes sailing and snorkeling. A fitness buff, he has a bicycle at home and keeps another stowed in a bay under the tour bus. He even has a case so he can check a bicycle aboard airplanes.
Because of his longstanding interest in weather (he enjoys watching the Weather Channel!), a few years ago Richard recorded public service announcements for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio network, which is the “voice” of the National Weather Service. Richard is also the “voice” for the Classic Country channel on Sirius Satellite Radio.
He and his wife, Donna, have two daughters, Lauren and Tori. He also has three older sons, Rich, Doug, and Chris, as well as five grandchildren.
Richard’s personal website is located at www.richardsterban.com.
Gold … Platinum ... MULTI-PLATINUM …
Over 41 Million Records Sold! +
Y'All Come Back Saloon * + September, 1977
Room Service * + May, 1978
Oak Ridge Boys Have Arrived * + March, 1979
Together * March, 1980
Greatest Hits ** + October, 1980
Fancy Free *** + May, 1981
Bobbie Sue * + February, 1982
Oak Ridge Boys Christmas * + September, 1982
American Made * + January, 1983
Greatest Hits Two ** + July, 1984
Deliver * + October, 1984
Step On Out March, 1985
Seasons March, 1986
Christmas Again September, 1986
Where The Fast Lane Ends February, 1987
Heartbeat September, 1987
Monongahela August, 1988
Greatest Hits Volume Three May, 1989
American Dreams September, 1989
Unstoppable April, 1991
Collection * + April, 1992
The Long Haul June, 1992
Country Christmas Eve November, 1995
Revival March, 1997
Voices July, 1999
Millennium August, 2000
From The Heart May, 2001
An Inconvenient Christmas September, 2002
Colors May, 2003
The Journey July, 2004
Common Thread May, 2005
Christmas Cookies October, 2005
Definitive Collection August, 2006
Front Row Seats September, 2006
Gold January, 2007
The Gospel Collection April, 2008
A Gospel Journey April, 2009
The Boys Are Back May, 2009
It’s Only Natural September, 2011
Back Home Again May, 2012
Christmas Time’s a-Coming September, 2012
Celebrating Faith, Family & Freedom July, 2013
Boys Night Out April, 2014
Rock of Ages (Hymns & Gospel Favorites) March, 2015
*Indicates Gold **Indicates Platinum ***Indicates Double Platinum
+ Sales certified by the Recording Industry Association of America
Listed by category in alphabetical and chronological order.
ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS
Top Vocal Group, 1978
Album of the Year (Y’all Come Back Saloon), 1978
Single of the Year (Elvira), 1981
Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award (for lifetime achievement), 2007
AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE
Best Music Act, 2007
AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS
Best Country Vocal Group of the Year, 1981
AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS
Country Group of the Year, 1982
Best Country Music Video Artist, 1985
Breakthrough Award, 1977
Number One Country Group, 1980
Number One Country Group/Singles, 1980
Number One Country Group/Albums, 1980
Bill Williams Memorial Award, 1981
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
Silver Buffalo Award, 2001
BROADCAST MUSIC INCORPORATED (BMI)
Most Performed Song of the Year (Elvira), 1981
Country Vocal Group/Singles, 1978
Country Vocal Group/Singles, 1979
Country Vocal Group/Albums, 1979
Country Vocal Group/Singles, 1980
Country Vocal Group/Albums, 1981
Country Crossover Group Pop/Singles, 1981
Country Crossover Group Pop/Albums, 1981
Country Crossover Group Pop/Singles, 1983
COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION AWARDS
Vocal Group of the Year, 1978
Instrumental Group of the Year (Oaks Band), 1978
Single of the Year (Elvira), 1981
Instrumental Group of the Year (Oaks Band), 1986
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
Modern Era, Class of 2015
Induction, October 25, 2015
DISC JOCKEY AWARDS
Group of the Year/Country, 1980
Presented by the MENC (National Association for Music Education), 2006
Best Vocal Performance by a Country Group or Duo (Elvira), 1982
GRAND OLD OPRY
Induction into the Grand Old Opry, 2011
INTERNATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT BUYERS ASSC.
Living Legend Award, 2005
INTERNATIONAL FAN CLUB ORGANIZATION
Tex Ritter Award, 1993
JUKE BOX OPERATORS OF AMERICA
Country Group of the Year, 1980
Song of the Year (Elvira), 1981
MUSIC CITY NEWS FAN AWARDS
Band of the Year (Oaks Band), 1978
Best Single of the Year (Elvira), 1982
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR CAMPUS ACTIVITIES
Best Major Country Performance, 1983
Best Major Country Performance, 1985
Best Major Country Performance, 1986
NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO PREVENT CHILD ABUSE
National Voice Award, 1997
NATIONAL MUSIC COUNCIL
American Eagle Award, 1997
PERFORMANCE MAGAZINE READERS POLL
Country Act of the Year, 1981
RADIO & RECORDS COUNTRY MUSIC POLL
Country Group of the Year, 1978-1980
Single of the Year (Elvira), 1981
RADIO PROGRAMMERS CHOICE AWARDS
Vocal Group of the Year, 1981
Country Singles Award, 1977
Country Vocal Group/Singles 1978
Country Vocal Group/Albums 1978
Country Vocal Group/Singles 1980
Country Vocal Group/Albums 1980
Country Vocal Group/Albums 1981
Most Promising Male Group/Albums, 1981
Top Country Crossover Group, 1981
TNN VIEWERS CHOICE AWARDS
Favorite Group, 1988
Favorite Group, 1989
VOCAL GROUP HALL OF FAME
Inducted, September 2001
CHRISTIAN COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS
Mainstream Artist of the Year, 2004
Album of the Year, 1969
Album Jacket Design, 1969
Male Group of the Year, 1970
Album of the Year, 1972
Male Group of the Year, 1972
Album of the Year, 1973
Country Album of the Year, 2002
Country Recorded Song of the Year, 2007
Long Form Music Video of the Year, 2010
Country Song of the Year (featuring Merle Haggard), 2015
GOSPEL MUSIC HALL OF FAME
Inducted October 2000
Best Vocal Performance by a Group or Duo/Gospel, 1971-1979 (four awards)
SOUTHERN GOSPEL MUSIC ASSOCIATION
James D. Vaughan Impact Award, 2012
SOUTHERN GOSPEL MUSIC GUILD
President’s Award, 2010
BILLBOARD/WEMBLEY FESTIVAL OF COUNTRY MUSIC
Best Country Group, 1975
COUNTRY RHYTHMS INTERNATIONAL FAN AWARDS
Best Country Group, 1982
F.I.D.O.F (International music festival organization)
Award of Excellence, 1986
KOUNTRY KORRAL MAGAZINE, SWEDEN
Number One Country Group, 1975
Number One Gospel Group, 1975
Decades of Hits
Y’All Come Back Saloon July 16, 1977
You’re The One (In A Million) December 3, 1977
I’ll Be True To You April 15, 1978
Cryin’ Again September 2, 1978
Come On In December 9, 1978
Sail Away April 7, 1979
Dream On August 18, 1979
Leaving Louisiana (In The Broad Daylight) December 1, 1979
Trying To Love Two Women April 19, 1980
Heart Of Mine July 19, 1980
Beautiful You November 15, 1980
*Elvira April 4, 1981
(I’m Setting) Fancy Free September 5, 1981
**Bobbie Sue January 23, 1982
So Fine June 5, 1982
I Wish You Could Have Turned My Head
(And Left My Heart Alone) July 31, 1982
Thank God For Kids November 20, 1982
American Made February 26, 1983
Love Song June 4, 1983
Ozark Mountain Jubilee October 22, 1983
I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes February 25, 1984
Everyday July 14, 1984
Make My Life With You November 10, 1984
Little Things March 30, 1985
Touch A Hand, Make A Friend August 3, 1985
Come On In (You Did The Best You Could Do) November 23, 1985
Juliet March 22, 1986
You Made A Rock Of A Rolling Stone July 12, 1986
It Take A Little Rain (To Make Love
Grow) February 21, 1987
This Crazy Love June 13, 1987
Time In October 10, 1987
True Heart February 27, 1988
Gonna Take A Lot Of River July 30, 1988
Bridges And Walls December 3, 1988
Beyond Those Years April 1, 1989
An American Family August 19, 1989
No Matter How High December 16, 1989
Baby, You’ll Be My Baby May 19, 1990
(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration December 1, 1990
Lucky Moon March 23, 1991
Change My Mind August 10, 1991
Baby On Board October 5, 1991
Fall June 27, 1992
Baby, When Your Heart Breaks Down June 28, 1999
Ain’t No Short Way Home September 16, 1999
Write Your Name Across My Heart August 17, 2001
Deep In Louisiana March 15, 2002
The Absence of Love / Colors April 28/May 5, 2003
Glory Bound September 26, 2003
Bad Case Of Missing You June 11, 2004
Someplace Green January, 2005
Hard To Be Cool (In A Minivan) July, 2006
Closer To Home April, 2007
Did I Make A Difference January, 2008
Seven Nation Army April, 2009
Mama’s Table September, 2009
What’cha Gonna Do? November, 2011
Sweet Jesus February 2015
* Indicates Double Platinum ** Indicates Gold
• Each of the Oaks resides in the City of Hendersonville in Sumner County, Tennessee, near Nashville. The group was recently named the 2016 Toast of Sumner County Readers’ Choice Awards Winner for Best Local Musician(s).
• The Oak Ridge Boys played a significant role in the 2016 CMA Fest, including hosting a show at the Ascend Amphitheater, signing autographs at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and appearing with Blake Shelton on the CMT Awards as well as his Nissan Stadium set. USA Today named the Oaks’ performances with Shelton as ‘one of the 5 biggest moments of CMA Fest.’ The group is featured on a track from Blake’s new album, which is entitled If I’m Honest.
• The year 2016 marks The Oak Ridge Boys Celebration Tour — a celebration of the group’s past, present, and future.
• Sunday, October 25, 2015, the Country Music Hall of Fame welcomed The Oak Ridge Boys into its “unbroken circle” when the group was formally inducted by friend and fellow touring artist Kenny Rogers. Accompanying festivities at the Hall of Fame CMA Theater that evening included musical tributes to the Oaks by Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and Martin Family Circus.
• The 46th Annual Gospel Music Association honored the Oaks with a Dove Award for the song “Sweet Jesus,” which features Merle Haggard and appears on the Oaks’ Rock of Ages CD (Gaither Music). Co-producer Ben Isaacs was on hand, October 13, to accept the award on behalf of the group. This is the Oaks’ tenth career Dove.
• In September, The Oak Ridge Boys attended The American Legion’s 97th National Convention in Baltimore, Maryland to accept the organization’s esteemed Patriot Award.
• The Oaks have been nominated for two 2015 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. Their song Sweet Jesus, featuring a guest performance by Merle Haggard, is nominated for Country Song of the Year. Additionally, Rock of Ages: Hymns & Gospel Favorites is nominated for Bluegrass/Country Album of the Year. The 46th annual Dove Awards will be presented in Nashville on October 13.
• On August 8, 2015 at the Music City Convention Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society presented Joe, Duane, William Lee, and Richard with the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment. The award was established to honor entertainers who have demonstrated a commitment to the U.S. military through film, literature or music.
• It’s been announced that the Oaks’ 2016 Celebration Tour will kick-off with the group’s second appearance on The Country Music Cruise. For reservations and price information, log on to http://countrymusiccruise.com/special-invitation-from-the-oak-ridge-boys.
• On March 25, 2015, at a press conference held inside the beautiful, new Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee, it was announced that The Oak Ridge Boys—Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban—are to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the fall of 2015. This prestigious honor is given in recognition of the Oaks’ 40+ years of contributions to the Country Music industry.
• On the Road with The Oak Ridge Boys: 40 Years of Untold Stories & Adventures, a new book by Joe Bonsall, will release from Harvest House Publishers in May 2015.
That same month, a new album, Rock of Ages, Hymns & Gospel Favorites (co-produced by Ben Isaacs and Duane Allen) will hit retail stores as a part of the Gaither Gospel Series. The first single from the album, Sweet Jesus, a duet with Merle Haggard, was released to Country radio in February.
• The Oaks’ Christmas Night Out show, the group’s twenty-fifth annual Christmas tour, hits the road this holiday season with more than 30 shows scheduled in thirteen states and Canada during the months of November and December. The Oaks’ Christmas show is a two-hour holiday extravaganza featuring a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs, beautiful sets, falling snow, and a visit from Santa Claus.
• In September 2014, The Oak Ridge Boys and The American Legion joined forces to raise awareness and support for the needs of U.S. military veterans, including better detection and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), help with the VA benefits process, and education and career opportunities for those who have served our nation in uniform.
The Oaks subsequently taped a Christmas special in conjunction with The American Legion. A festive and sentimental down-home hour of songs and stories, the television show features guest appearances by Larry Gatlin and the Gatlins, Mary Sarah, and Martin Family Circus. It will air during the 2014 holiday season.
• On August 9, 2014, ORB lead vocalist Duane Allen was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, an honor which has been bestowed on some of the most revered in country music history, from Tex Ritter to Ray Price to Willie Nelson. Standing by Duane’s side, Joe, Richard, and William Lee were also named “honorary Texans.” A Duane Allen/Oak Ridge Boys exhibit was unveiled the same day at the 3000 square feet Carthage, Texas based Hall of Fame.
Earlier this year, a bridge in East Texas was dedicated to Duane. The Duane Allen Memorial Bridge crosses the Big Sandy Creek near the family farm where Duane was raised.
• Given that The Oak Ridge Boys’ career has spanned six decades and more than 41 million albums sold, with hits including Elvira, American Made, Thank God for Kids, and others, it is hard to believe that the group has never before released a full-length, official hits concert album. That will change on April 15, when Cleopatra Records will release Boys Night Out in three formats— CD, vinyl, and digital download.
• An official RIAA commemorative plaque certifying Gold, Platinum, and Multi-Platinum album sales totaling more than 41 million was awarded to The Oak Ridge Boys in New York City during the group’s recent appearance on The Wendy Williams Show.
• The Oak Ridge Boys Boys Night Out Tour begins on January 23, 2014 in New Braunfels, Texas. In 2013, the Oaks traveled more than 100,000 miles to perform 150 shows, from New York State to California, and from Canada to the coast of South Florida—including their first international cruise event. The group plans to work a similar amount of shows in 2014. Their second annual Rally-at-Sea will take them, along with their fans, to the Eastern Caribbean for seven nights, February 22 through March 1. For more information, logon to http://www.oakridgeboys.com/rally.
• Compassion International signs on as the official sponsor of The Oak Ridge Boys 24th annual Christmas tour, which for the second year is entitled the Christmas Time’s a Comin’ Tour. The Oaks’ festive show, featuring live performances of holiday classics and the group’s biggest hits travels to twenty-six cities for thirty-one shows between mid-November and December 23.
• In 1973, Joe Bonsall joined then group members William Lee Golden, Duane Allen, and Richard Sterban, setting in motion what would become forty years of unprecedented music history. On July 30, 2013, in celebration of this 40-year anniversary, Gaither Music Group released The Oak Ridge Boys: Celebrating Faith, Family, and Freedom, a one-of-a-kind compilation of Gospel, country, and patriotic music. Songs for the project are handpicked fan favorites from across the years and include the original 1981 recording of Elvira.
• The Oak Ridge Boys 40th Anniversary Tour began January 19 and 2o at the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, Texas. Venues across the U.S. and Canada are lining up to host the Grammy-winning group’s milestone celebration, which is also expected to include a commemorative CD and a network television special.
• The Boys kick off their 2012 Christmas Time’s A Comin’ Tour in November. Each of the 30-plus, 90-minute shows will feature songs from the group’s new Gaither Music Christmas CD, Christmas Time’s A-Coming, along with songs from the Oaks’ five preceding Christmas albums. The Grand Ole Opry will feature the new album at Opry.com during the holiday season.
• The Oak Ridge Boys have been invited to perform the national anthem at the opening of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, on Monday, August 27. While in Tampa, the group will appear on a number of national television and radio shows.
• Gaither Music will release two Oak Ridge Boys projects in 2012, both produced or co-produced by Dove Award winning singer/songwriter/producer Ben Isaacs. The first, Back Home Again, a retro-flavored Gospel album, released on May 22.
The second, a Christmas album entitled Christmas Time’s a-Coming, co-produced by Duane Allen, will release to retail stores on September 25. Cracker Barrel will also carry an exclusive version of the album that features two bonus cuts.
• The Oak Ridge Boys performed at the 2012 We’re All for the Hall fundraiser hosted by Keith Urban and Vince Gill. The April 10 concert event, held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, also featured Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, the Band Perry, and Alabama, among others, and raised $450,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
• On November 8, 2011, The Oak Ridge Boys and Cracker Barrel released the Oaks’ new single, What’cha Gonna Do? to Country radio. Internet sensation Keenan Cahill joined the group for the taping of their viral music video for the song.
• The Oaks’ latest CD, It’s Only Natural, sold exclusively through Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, debuted on the Billboard Country Album chart at #16, marking the fifth consecutive decade the group has scored Billboard Country chart action.
• On September 19, 2011, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store released a new and exclusive Oak Ridge Boys CD entitled It’s Only Natural. The album features five new and seven signature songs, including a rerecording of the Oaks’ double platinum-selling single, Elvira. For the project, the Oaks were reunited in the studio with producers Ron Chancey, Michael Sykes, and Duane Allen.
• On July 8, 2011, The Oak Ridge Boys were invited to join The Grand Ole Opry. They were officially inducted the following month, on August 6, by Little Jimmy Dickens.
The Oaks’ history has been intertwined with the Opry for more than sixty years, dating back to the founders of the Oak Ridge Quartet in the 1940’s (see, Gospel Music Roots section in A Piece of History). The current lineup of Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, Richard Sterban, and William Lee Golden has performed on the Opry stage many times during the past four decades.
• The Oak Ridge Boys recently contributed to a track for The Blind Boys of Alabama’s upcoming Country-Gospel album, Take the High Road. The five-time Grammy Award and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners tapped Country music hit maker Jamey Johnson to co-produce the project. Johnson also contributes vocals, along with Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., and Lee Ann Womack.
The Oaks traveled to New York City in May for three days of press appearances with The “Blind Boys” and Johnson.
• On February 25, 2011, The Palm honored and immortalized the Oaks with the unveiling of signature caricatures, which were placed on permanent display at the Nashville restaurant. During the press conference the Oaks announced a 2011-2012 celebration of the 30th Anniversary of their double-platinum, iconic single, Elvira.
• The Nashville Predators have invited The Oak Ridge Boys to perform the national anthem at the Preds-Blackhawks game, Thursday, February 24.
• On Monday, January 24, 2011, The Oak Ridge Boys inducted their friend and mentor Johnny Cash, posthumously, into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. “The Oak Ridge Boys relationship with Johnny Cash has been well documented over the years,” Joe Bonsall told the crowd. “I daresay I don't know that we would be here today if not for Johnny Cash.”
The Oak Ridge Boys were similarly honored with a Hall of Fame induction in 2000.
• The Oak Ridge Boys are one of eight Country artists—including Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, and Dolly Parton—to contribute to the Grascals & Friends CD, Country Classics with a Bluegrass Spin CD, released exclusively by the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in January 2011. The album debuted at Number One on the Billboard Bluegrass chart.
• In December 2010, the Oaks make a cameo appearance on The History Channel’s hit television show, Pawn Stars.
• The Oak Ridge Boys’ single, Fancy Free, written by Roy August and Jimbeau Hinson, has been recognized by BMI as a Double Million-Airs song—certifying more than two million broadcast performances.
• In April 2010, the Oaks taped an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, hosted by the Food Network’s Guy Fieri, for airing later this year.
• The Oak Ridge Boys were honored at the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards for their Country-Gospel documentary-performance video, A Gospel Journey, which took home the Long Form Music Video award.
• Gospel music accolades rolled in for the Oaks in February 2010 with two Gospel Music Association Dove award nominations for Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year (Live With Jesus) and Long Form Video of the Year (A Gospel Journey), as well as the announcement that the group would receive the Southern Gospel Music Guild’s prestigious President’s Award in April.
• In January 2010, the Oaks celebrated four decades of charted Country music singles, when their current release, Mama's Table, re-entered the Billboard Country Singles chart. The group's first Billboard-charted Country single was with Johnny Cash (Praise The Lord And Pass the Soup) in 1973, and then on their own in 1976 with Family Reunion.
• The Oak Ridge Boys Live @ SXSW television special, airing on Direct TV and produced by Blaze TV, has been nominated in the Long Form Video Music Category for the Ninth Annual Independent Music Awards. The show features songs from The Oak Ridge Boys’ latest CD, The Boys Are Back, including their current single release, Mama’s Table.
• A music video of The Oak Ridge Boys’ performance of G. I. Joe and Lillie, featuring Joe Bonsall, the songwriter and author of a book by the same name, recently surpassed one and a half million views and is still climbing. The song can be found on The Oak Ridge Boys’ Colors CD, released by Spring Hill Music Group. The book, by the same name, now in it’s eighth printing with New Leaf Press, has sold more than 115,000 copies to date. The music video was produced and directed by Sherman Halsey.
• In October 2009, Spring Hill Music released the Oaks’ second single from The Boys Are Back. Mama’s Table was written by Jamey Johnson and George G. Teren and celebrates the best of family memories. A music video is now in pre-production.
• Two years ago, Shooter Jennings, the son of the Oaks’ old friend Waylon Jennings and Jessi Coulter, asked the Oaks to sing backup on Slow Train, a track for Shooters’ sophomore CD. At the recording session, they met David Cobb, Shooter’s producer. Almost immediately, Dave and the Oaks made plans to record a project together. The Boys Are Back was released by Spring Hill on May 19, 2009.
Shooter Jennings wrote the title song and is one of several cutting edge songwriters contributing to the CD. Jamey Johnson co-wrote Mama’s Table and Paul Kennerley wrote Live For Jesus for the project. Additional tracks were written (or co-written) by Neil Young (Beautiful Bluebird), John Lee Hooker (Boom, Boom) and Ray Lamontagne (Hold Me In Your Arms).
The first single from the CD is an unexpected makeover of Seven Nation Army, originally penned and recorded by Jack White (The White Stripes). The Oaks’ version of the song has received critical acclaim and garnered plenty of attention from younger fans. The YouTube adaptation of the song is approaching 100,000 views.
• The Oak Ridge Boys were asked to participate in the 23rd annual SXSW Music and Media Festival held in March 2009 in downtown Austin, Texas. DIRECTV taped the Oaks’ performance for their SXSW Live broadcast to subscribers. Additionally, the Oaks hosted a seminar (“The Masters of Re-Invention”) for festival attendees. The Oaks and their longtime manager, Jim Halsey, spoke about meeting the challenges of the changing nature of the music industry.
• The Academy of Country Music named The Oak Ridge Boys a 2008 recipient of the ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. The Oaks were honored, along with fellow recipients Brenda Lee, Conway Twitty and Porter Wagoner (the latter two posthumously), at a special ceremony held in Nashville in September. The Oak Ridge Boys are only the third group to receive this accolade in Academy history.
• William Lee Golden ‘s new children's book, Noah, Didn’t It Rain, was released by New Leaf Press in May 2008. The colorful and entertaining book, illustrated by Bill Looney, tells the story of the Biblical Noah and is based on the Oaks’ current single to Christian radio, Didn’t It Rain. A CD of the song accompanies the book.
• The Tennessee State Legislature recently honored the Oak Ridge Boys for their public service and patriotic spirit. The Proclamation was presented to the group at the 105th General Assembly on April 21.
• On April 3, 2008, Joe Bonsall was presented a plaque and special edition book from New Leaf Press to commemorate 100,000 copies sold of his creative non-fiction work, G I. Joe and Lillie. The book is based on the lives of Bonsall’s parents, Joe, Sr. and Lillie, who both served in the Army during World War II.
• Respected Country music critique Robert K. Oermann, referencing the Oaks’ most recent Country radio single, Did I Make A Difference, wrote in the November 30, 2007 issue of @Music Row: “This quartet is making some of the best music of its career, right now.”
• William Lee Golden transformed the scene of Music City with his art exhibit at Nashville International Airport. An opening celebration for the six-piece collection of paintings, entitled “The First of Many to Come,” was held on Tuesday, August 28, 2007. More than 300 guests and airport travelers attended the event. William Lee’s paintings will be on display through early 2008, as part of the Arts at the Airport program.
• On June 16, 2007, the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, recognized the Oaks for their contribution as “ambassadors” by naming a street The Oak Ridge Boys Way. The presentation was made while the group was in town to perform at the Fifth Annual Secret City Festival. The original “Oak Ridge Quartet” took its name from the City of Oak Ridge.
• American Entertainment Magazine named the Oak Ridge Boys the 2007 Reader's Choice Award winner for Best Music Act of 2007. The magazine is the official publication of the International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers.
• The Oaks recently re-recorded their classic hit, American Made, for a special Support Our Troops CD that will benefit the USO. The CD is available exclusively at participating 7-Eleven stores in the United States.
• Closer to Home, the group’s single from Front Row Seats, received accolades from Country music reviewer Robert K. Oermann in the May 20, 2007, edition of Music Row magazine. “It’s a spectacular salute to the common man with a melody and arrangement that are every bit as inspiring as the lyric… a sensational record.” The single was released to Country radio in late April 2007.
• On April 25, 2007, the Oak Ridge Boys were honored with their eighth Gospel Music Association Dove award. Jonah, Job and Moses won the Country Recorded Song of the Year. Written by Tia Sillers and Bill Anderson, the song appears on the Oaks' most recent Country CD released by Spring Hill Music. Front Row Seats was produced by Duane Allen and Michael Sykes.
• In January 2007, MCA released Oak Ridge Boys: Gold, a double-disc CD package featuring over 30 ORB favorites.
• In August 2006, MCA Records released a new greatest hits compilation CD entitled The Oak Ridge Boys Definitive Collection. The CD features 24 songs, including 15 Number One hits from the 1970s and 1980s.
• The Oaks made an appearance on FOX & Friends, July 10, 2006, marking the national television debut of their single Hard To Be Cool (In A Minivan). The song appears on Front Row Seats, released by Spring Hill Music Group on September 26, 2006.
• In April 2006, the Oaks taped a Feed The Children television special with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The patriotic special aired across the U.S. on Independence Day weekend 2006.
• On March 9, 2006, The Oak Ridge Boys were honored by the MENC (The National Association for Music Education) for their role as Musical Ambassadors of the National Anthem Project.
• On October 4, 2005, the International Entertainment Buyers Association presented the Oaks with the Living Legend award in recognition of the group’s outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry.
• The Country Music Hall of Fame honored The Oak Ridge Boys with a six-month spotlight exhibit in 2005. The collection of individual and group memorabilia included a priceless Hirshfeld original caricature of the group, Harvey Krantz and Manual stage clothing, and personal artifacts.
• In 2005, the Oak Ridge Boys were named the Musical Ambassadors of the MENC (National Association for Music Education) National Anthem Project, a multi-year effort to re-teach “The Star-Spangled Banner” to all Americans. Mrs. Laura Bush serves as the Honorary Chairperson and the Jeep brand is the national presenting sponsor. For more information, please visit www.thenationalanthemproject.org.
• Spring Hill Music released two new CDs from the Oaks in 2005. A Gospel album, entitled Common Thread, was released in May. And a new Bluegrass-flavored Christmas album, Christmas Cookies, followed in the fall. The release of the second album coincides with a new Feed The Children Christmas television special and a 19-city, Christmas tour in November and December.
• The Oaks released a Bluegrass-style Country album, The Journey, in July 2004. A few months later, New Leaf Press published a coffee table book, entitled The Oak Ridge Boys: An American Journey. The book chronicles the 30-year history of the group in photos and text and was written by Joe Bonsall.
• Another book written by Bonsall, entitled An Inconvenient Christmas, was published by New Leaf Press for the holiday season in 2004. The book was inspired by the Oaks’ hit song, The Most Inconvenient Christmas, which was penned by songwriter Kyle Matthews.
• In 2004, Colors, the title cut from the Oaks’ third album on Spring Hill, was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Country Performance by a Group or Duo with Vocals, and the Gospel Music Association nominated the Colors album for Country Album of the Year. Duane Allen and Michael Sykes produced the album. In fact, the duo has produced all of the Oaks’ Spring Hill albums to date.
• The Oak Ridge Boys Red, White & BluBlocker® Tour took the group to 170 cities in the United States and Canada in 2003. The following year, the Oaks set out for another busy twelve months, performing at major state fairs, auditoriums, and theaters on their Red, White & Blublocker® Journey.
• Joe Bonsall authored an inspirational biography. G.I. Joe and Lillie: Remembering a Life of Love and Loyalty, which was released by New Leaf Press in 2003. A song by the same name, G.I. Joe and Lillie, was included on the Oaks’ Colors album, also released in 2003.
• The Colors album also featured remakes of the Oaks’ Number One hits Thank God For Kids and An American Family (with updated lyrics).
• In September 2002, Spring Hill Music released An Inconvenient Christmas, an album which has been the central theme for two Christmas tours, including the 2003 Red, White & BluBlocker® Holiday Colors Tour.
• An ORB Christmas television special, which originally aired in 2002, was re-edited and aired during the 2003 holiday season. The show, produced in conjunction with Feed The Children and the Halsey Company, featured songs from An Inconvenient Christmas project.
• The group also filmed two additional, one-hour television specials for Feed The Children in recent months, Let Freedom Sing and From The Heart.
• In 2002, the group was awarded a Dove for their From The Heart album, the group’s first retail Gospel music project in over 25 years. During their career, they have been awarded countless Grammy, Dove, Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music — and many other prestigious awards.
• The Oaks have one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry. Their four-part harmonies and upbeat songs have sold over 30 million records and spawned 25 Number One hits including: Elvira, American Made, Bobbie Sue, Thank God For Kids, and Y’all Come Back Saloon. They have logged Number One records across three fields of music — Pop, Country, and Gospel.
• In recognition of the group’s outstanding service to youth, on June 1, 2001, the Oaks were presented with the highest honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America, the Silver Buffalo Award.
• The Vocal Group Hall of Fame honored the Oak Ridge Boys with induction on September 13, 2001. As the first Country music group to receive such an honor, the Oaks joined stellar acts such as the Eagles and the Bee Gees.
• In October 2000, the Gospel Music Association inducted the Oak Ridge Boys into its Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The Oaks, subsequently, hosted the 2001 Hall of Fame ceremonies, posthumously inducting Elvis Presley.
“What’cha Gonna Do?” (It’s Only Natural, Cracker Barrel, 2011); Director: Sherman Halsey; Producer Sherman Halsey, Steven Haddad and Oak Ridge Boys II Productions, Inc. The video features Internet YouTube sensation Keenan Cahill.
“Mama’s Table” (The Boys Are Back, Spring Hill Music, 2009); Director: Sherman Halsey; Producer: The Halsey Company. Featuring footage from the Oaks’ appearance at SXSW music festival in Austin, courtesy of Blaze Television.
“It’s Hard to Be Cool (In a Minivan)” (Front Row Seats, Spring Hill Music, 2006); Director: Steven L. Weaver; Producer: Randy Brewer for Revolution Pictures, Inc.; Location: Franklin, TN
“Someplace Green” (The Journey, Spring Hill Music, 2004); Performance footage – Director: Sherman Halsey; Producer: Sherman Halsey; Location: Shepherd of the Hills, Branson, MO. Vignettes and Post-production – Director: Stan Moore; Producer: Stan Moore
“The Most Inconvenient Christmas” (An Inconvenient Christmas, Spring Hill Music, 2002); Director: Sherman Halsey; Producer: Sherman Halsey; Location: The Grand Palace, Branson, MO
“Winter Wonderland” (An Inconvenient Christmas, Spring Hill Music, 2002); Director: Sherman Halsey; Producer: Sherman Halsey; Location: The Grand Palace, Branson, MO
“Write Your Name Across My Heart” (From The Heart, Spring Hill Music, 2001); Director: Eric Welch; Producer: Susan Bowman for The Collective; Location: Nashville National Cemetery (military cemetery), Madison, TN
“Ain’t No Short Way Home” (Voices, Platinum Records, 1999); Director/Producer: Tom Bevins for Southern Exposure: Location: Manchester, TN, and Louisiana Gulf Coast
“Fall” (Long Haul, RCA Records, 1992); Director/Producer: Wayne Miller/Stan Strickland for Rainmaker; Location: DR&A Soundstage, Nashville, TN
“Change My Mind” (Unstoppable, RCA Records, 1991); Director/Producer: Larry Boothby/Buck Ford for Scene Three; Location: Oak Hill, TN, and the community of Ashley Green, Bellevue, TN
“Soul and Inspiration” (My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, Motion Picture Soundtrack, RCA Records, 1991); Director/Producer: Dean Lent/Kimberly Lansing for Limelight Productions; Locations: Belle Meade and Belmont Theatres, Nashville, TN
“No Matter How High” (American Dreams, MCA Records, 1989); Director/Producer: Larry Boothby/Kitty Moon for Scene Three; Locations: Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA; Atlantic City, NJ; and Cunningham, TX
“Beyond Those Years” (Monongahela, MCA Records, 1988); Director/Producer: Larry Boothby/Kitty Moon and Marc Ball for Scene Three; Location: A residential neighborhood and Scene Three Studios, Nashville, TN
“Gonna Take A Lot Of River” (Monongahela, MCA Records, 1988); Director/Producer: Larry Boothby and Ken Walz/Kitty Moon and Marc Ball for Scene Three; Location: Lakewood Marina, Old Hickory Lake, Nashville, TN
“Take Pride In America” (Greatest Hits Three, MCA Records, 1989); Director/Producer: Dick Heard for Dick Heard Productions; Larry Quinn, United States Department of Agriculture, Chief of the Video and Film Division/produced by the United States Department of Agriculture; Location: The Oaks Place Recording Studio, Hendersonville, TN
“Juliet” (Seasons, MCA Records, 1986); Director/Producer: Scott Hello and Martha Holmes/Ken Walz for Ken Walz Productions; Location: Kaufman Astoria Studios, New York City, NY
“Little Things” (Step On Out, MCA Records, 1985); Director/Producer: Patricia Birch/Ken Walz for Ken Walz Productions; Location: Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, TN
“Everyday” (Greatest Hits Two, MCA Records, 1984); Director/Producer: Ken Walz/Ken Walz Productions; Location: Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Nashville, TN.
“I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes” (Deliver, MCA Records, 1983); Director/Producer: Dominic Orlando/Pendulum Productions; Location: Nashville, TN
“Ozark Mountain Jubilee” (Deliver, MCA Records, 1983); Director/Producer: Mark Dice/Nocturne Productions; Location: In concert at Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
“Love Song” (American Made, MCA Records, 1983); Director: Paul Henman/Kaleidoscope Productions; Location: High Desert, Palmdale, CA
“Thank God For Kids” (Christmas, MCA Records, 1982); Director: Kenny Meyers/Rock Cottage Productions; Location: Sesame Place, Irving, TX
“So Fine” (Bobbie Sue, MCA Records, 1982); Director/Producer: Sherman Halsey/Churchill Productions; Location: Dallas, TX
“Easy” (Y’All Come Back Saloon, MCA Records, 1978). This is believed to be the first concept music video ever produced for a Country music artist in the United States. Although not released in the U.S., the video reached the #3 slot in Australia.
Career Highlights Timeline
1973 – The current lineup—William Lee Golden, Duane Allen, Richard Sterban and Joe Bonsall—come together.
1974 – Johnny Cash helps the Oaks by including them on shows, encouraging them to persevere. Jimmy Dean would also become a mentor for the group the following year.
1975 – The group signs a management contract with Jim Halsey, beginning a 34-year association to date.
1976 – The Oaks take the Country charts by storm with Y’all Come Back Saloon on ABC-Dot Records.
The group also breaks new boundaries for Country music with a 21-day tour of the Soviet Union with Roy Clark. They are the first Country music group to perform in the USSR.
1977 – The Oaks win their first major Country music award, Best Vocal Group from the Academy of Country Music and headline a show at New York City’s renowned Carnegie Hall.
The group produces one of the first Country music videos, for their song, Easy, which is a hit in Australia.
1978 – The Country Music Association bestows its Vocal Group of the Year award on the group.
Paul Simon presents a gold album to the Oaks for their unforgettable backup vocals on his classic hit, Slip Slidin’ Away. Paul Simon and Phil Ramone produced the project.
1979 – The Oaks chalk up another Best Vocal Group award from the Academy of Country Music and wrap up a record breaking, two-year tour with Kenny Rogers.
Three international stops make headlines for the Boys: a command performance for Princess Caroline in Monaco; a show at the historic Opera House at Midem in Cannes, France; and a stellar appearance at the Montreax Jazz Festival.
1980 – The Juke Box Operators of America award their prestigious Country Group of the Year award to the Oak Ridge Boys.
The group co-headlines a show, with Johnny Mathis, at Royal Albert Hall in London, England.
1981 – The Oaks’ single Elvira hits the top of the Country and Pop charts, selling two and a half million singles. Two more awards: the Country Music Association Single of the Year (Elvira), and an American Music Awards Best Country Music Video (Everyday).
1982 – This year brings a Grammy win (the Oaks’ fifth) for Best Vocal Performance by a Country Group or Duo (Elvira) and a one-hour HBO television special.
The American Music Awards bestows the Country Group of the Year, and the Academy of Country Music chooses Elvira as the Single of the Year.
1983 – The National Association for College Activities (NACA) awards the Oaks with the first of three, consecutive Best Major Country Performance awards.
The group performs at the third annual Congressional Barbecue on the lawn of the White House, an honor they will have again in 1989 and 2008. During the course of their career, the group has performed for five presidents, as well as King Gustaf of Sweden, her Royal Highness Princess Caroline of Monaco, and Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of Great Britain.
1984 – The Oak Ridge Boys debut their new single, It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes, on the Tonight Show.
1985 – The Oaks represent all of American music at the grand opening of the Acropolis in Nice, France, donating their performance fee to international relief organization Feed the Children. The money is used to drill four water wells in the Rift Valley, Kenya.
1986 – The group’s headline performance at New York City’s Radio City Music also features The Judds. The show poster includes a rendering of the “Boys” by iconic Broadway caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.
FIDOF (International Federation of Festival Organizations) presents the Oak Ridge Boys with their Award of Excellence in recognition of the Oaks’ numerous international appearances in Belgium, Canada, England, Finland, France, Monaco, Norway, the Soviet Union, Sweden, Switzerland and West Germany, including MIDEM.
1987 – The group participates for the second time in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, broadcast live on NBC.
1989 – The Oaks hook up with Pillsbury for a national Totino’s Pizza promotion.
1997 – Two distinguished designations are bestowed on the Oaks: The National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse National Voice Award and the American Music Council American Eagle Award.
1998 – TNN posts huge audiences for The Oak Ridge Boys Live from Las Vegas variety show series produced by Sherman Halsey. Guests include contemporary and classic talent from Tim McGraw, Sara Evans and Bill Engvall to the Captain and Tennille and the Fairfield Four.
2000 – The Oak Ridge Boys are inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
2001 – In recognition of their outstanding service to youth, the Boy Scouts of America presents the group with their highest national honor, the Silver Buffalo.
2002 – The group is awarded a Dove from the Gospel Music Association for their From The Heart CD, their first retail Gospel music project in over 25 years.
2003 – The Oak Ridge Boys’ Red, White & BluBlocker® Tour takes the Oaks to 170 cities across the United States and Canada.
2004 – New Leaf Press publishes The Oak Ridge Boys: An American Journey, a group autobiography penned by tenor singer Joe Bonsall, who is a multi-published author.
2005 – The International Talent Buyers Association presents the Oaks with the Living Legend Award.
The Country Music Hall of Fame honors the group with a six-month spotlight exhibit.
2006 – The MENC (National Association for Music Education) bestows the Fame Award on the Oak Ridge Boys for their work as Musical Ambassadors for the three-year National Anthem Project
2007 – The Oak Ridge Boys ride in the lead float in the Rose Bowl Parade, as a part of the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchandisers) American Music Salute campaign (National Anthem Project). They perform for one and a half billion viewers.
American Entertainment Magazine, the official publication for the International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers, announces the group as their recipients of the Readers Choice Award for Best Music Act of 2007.
The Gospel Music Association bestows the Oaks with their eighth Dove Award, this one for Country Recorded Song of the Year (Jonah, Job and Moses).
2008 – The Academy of Country Music recognizes the Oak Ridge Boys as recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award.
The group continues to perform more than 150 days a year on tour across the United States and Canada, their tour busses jointly receiving over 24 million impressions per year.
The Oak Ridge Boys’ Christmas tour, a 20-year tradition, sells out halls across the country each year. As well, in 2008, the group’s Feed the Children multiple cable network Christmas television special received over 100 million viewer hits.
2009 – The Oak Ridge Boys continue to prove they are one of the most diverse music groups in American music. In April, they release both a cover of the White Stripes song, Seven Nation Army, to Country radio, and a debut Gaither Gospel Music Homecoming television special.
The Oaks will be featured speakers (The Masters of Reinvention) at the 2009 SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, in March. Additionally, their one-hour performance during the festival will be broadcast live (and on tape throughout the year) by DIRECTV, with 45 million viewers per broadcast.
2010 – Roy August, co-writer of the Oaks’ single Fancy Free (co-written by Jimbeau Hinson), received a “two million spins” award from BMI. As of July 2010, the song had been broadcast over 116,600 hours, equating to more than 13 years of continuous airplay.
Also in July, AOL listed Elvira by The Oak Ridge Boys as the “catchiest” song in Country music. The Oaks’ chart topping single beat out several other “catchy” songs, which filled out the AOL Top Ten Catchy Songs in Country list, including Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus, The Gambler by Kenny Rogers, and Undo It by Carrie Underwood.
2011 – The Oaks celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their double platinum selling, Country-Pop smash hit single, Elvira.
The group is inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on August 6, almost 66 years after the Oak Ridge Quartet first started making regular appearances on the Opry.
In September, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® released the Oaks’ It’s Only Natural CD, and the first single, What’cha Gonna Do?, inspired a now-viral music video taped with Internet sensation Keenan Cahill.
2012 – The group releases two albums this year—Back Home Again, a retro-flavored Gospel album, and Christmas Time’s a-Coming—both produced or co-produced by Ben Isaacs.
They also perform at We’re All for the Hall in Nashville, helping to raise $450,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
2013 – The Oaks celebrate 40 years together! William Lee Golden joined The Oak Ridge Boys in 1965. Duane Allen signed onto the group in 1966. Richard Sterban and Jon Bonsall came onboard within a year of each other, in 1972 and 1973, respectively.
2014 – The Oaks celebrate forty-one RIAA-certified albums sold since coming together as a group (current membership) forty-one years ago with the release of their first official “country hits” live album. Boys Night Out is released by LA-based Cleopatra Records on April 15, 2014.
The group celebrated 25 years of Christmas tours with The Christmas Night Out Tour and a Christmas television special in conjunction with The American Legion.
2015 – In March, the Oaks were announced as the 2015 Modern Era Inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame, with formal induction by Kenny Rogers on October 25, 2015 in Nashville.
Earlier in the year, the group won a Gospel Music Association Dove Award in the Best Country Recorded Song category for “Sweet Jesus,” which featured Merle Haggard.
2016 – This year marks the beginning of The Oak Ridge Boys Celebration Tour, a celebration of the group’s past, present, and future.
In June, after appearing with Blake Shelton on the CMT Awards, as well as his Nissan Stadium set, USA Today named the Oaks’ performances with Shelton ‘one of the 5 biggest moments of CMA Fest.’
People Are Talking...
The show felt more like two full concerts with an intermission than an opening and headlining act. The Oak Ridge Boys are country legends in their own right, and packed their hourlong set full of their own hits.
The crowd went wild for “Elvira” and “Bobbie Sue,” the songs that came last from the group, which had been heavily anticipated throughout the night. “Y’all Come Back Saloon” and “Thank God For Kids” were other high points of the set. THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2016/07/31/0731-kenny-rogers-review.html (August 1, 2016)
The Oak Ridge Boys can do no wrong. On a telecast that featured Pitbull, Fifth Harmony and Pharrell Williams, it helped to ground the evening in tradition — the CMTs are technically a country awards show, after all. And the Oaks were as sturdy as their name, backing up Blake Shelton on “Doin’ It to Country Songs,” their collaboration on Shelton's new album, If I'm Honest. It may have been Shelton's performance, but the Country Music Hall of Famers owned it, whipping the crowd — including a singing, dancing Carrie Underwood — into a frenzy when they broke into their own “Elvira.” With Joe Bonsall busting a few fleet-footed moves and Richard Sterban shaking the rafters with his signature “oom pa-pa mow mow,” the Oaks proved that you don't have to be young to be electrifying. ROLLING STONE http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/cmt-music-awards-2016-10-best-and-worst-moments-20160609 (June 9, 2016)
Over the years they’ve sung country, pop and rockabilly, and Friday night they gave the audience at the Wood County Fair a sampling of all their guises. … singing like they were ready to stay on the road for many years to come. David Dupont / SENTINEL-TRIBUNE http://www.sent-trib.com/news/oak-ridge-boys-bring-hits-and-hymns-to-fair/article_ccc31376-3d8a-11e5-8f45-0f9797972531.html (August 8, 2015)
Invigorated by their forthcoming Country Music Hall of Fame induction in the fall, the Oak Ridge Boys brought an extra dose of “omm papa mow mow” to LP Field on Friday night. Led by the ageless Joe Bonsall, who bounded across the vast stage, the Oaks treated fans to their instantly recognizable country classics. ROLLING STONE.COM http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/30-best-things-we-saw-at-cma-music-fest-2015-20150615/best-hall-of-famers-the-oak-ridge-boys-20150615 (June 15, 2015)
Many think of Stagecoach as a place to pave the way for new country music, focusing on the mainstreams of the moment… While mostly true, it’s always anchored by classics and legends ensure the young bucks keep in line. The Oak Ridge Boys held down the old guard with authority and put the youngins on notice as they belted out big-time hits from their storied country history. Justin Jimenez / AXS, http://m.axs.com/the-legendary-oak-ridge-boys-deliver-at-stagecoach-photos-50955 (April 27, 2015)
The Oak Ridge Boys performed… to a large crowd at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival. Mixing together country, pop and Southern gospel, the four-piece group brought the audience to its feet. Wes Woods / INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN, http://www.dailybulletin.com//arts-and-entertainment/20150426/stagecoach-2015-the-oak-ridge-boys-perform-fan-favorites (April 26, 2015)
There are many acts that deserve to have their number called next spring by CMA Chief Executive Ofﬁcer Sarah Trahern, but simply put, it's the Oak Ridge Boys' time to join that hallowed group of country legends. Country Music Hall of Fame members The Oak Ridge Boys. Sounds almost as good as “Oom Papa Mow Mow,” doesn't it? Chuck Dauphin / BILLBOARD MAGAZINE, http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-615/6289318/oak-ridge-boys-country-music-hall-induction-case (October 21, 2014)
(There’s) nothing quite like the audience reaction when they end the show with hits Elvira and Bobbie Sue, with everyone singing every word. As an album this is a great tribute to their fabulous career, and as well as being a memento for those who have seen the Oak Ridge Boys live, it’s also a lovely piece of history for fans in general, and a fun listen that shows their prowess and talent as performers and artists…. Vickeye / FOR THE COUNTRY RECORD (Boys Night Out live album review). http://forthecountryrecord.com/2014/03/21/oak-ridge-boys-boys-night-out-album-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=oak-ridge-boys-boys-night-out-album-review.
This has been my favorite concert of the State Fair thus far. The lyrics are deep and literally when delivered by the quartet gave me goosebumps. It made me think of how many other people have been touched by this group over the last 40 years, which is when current members Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, Bonsall and Sterban were united as the current lineup. It occurred to me the reason is because music like this can appeal to anyone. Andy Lyons / DIGITALBURG.com. http://digitalburg.com/?p=10321
… though the quartet has enjoyed… a long and fruitful career together, they took to the stage with the zeal and energy of a brand new band…. As their contemporaries have slowed down or retired, there seems to be no end in sight for the “Mighty Oaks,” and honestly, as long as the music is like it was Friday night in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, there shouldn't be. Chuck Dauphin / BILLBOARD.com. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-615/1568734/the-oak-ridge-boys-mark-40th-anniversary (July 1, 2013)
After all of these years, what makes the Oak Ridge Boys still popular to sell out venues such as Renfro Valley? Just sitting and listening, you will hear the purist vocal collaborations that have stood tradition in time. You will hear songs that will make you laugh, dance, sing, cry, and reflect. You will rejoice and you will be proud to be a country music fan. Jessica Blankenship / EXAMINER, Lexington Country Music edition, http://www.examiner.com/article/oak-ridge-boys-show-off-tradition-with-sold-out-performance-at-renfro-valley (June 29, 2013)
Why are the Oaks still filling auditoriums, when groups—some with just as many hits—have disbanded because they can’t sell tickets? Simply this: the Oak Ridge Boys create an experience their customers want to repeat…and share with their friends, to the point of bringing them along! … Forty years ago, these four men inspired me by their hard work, talent, dedication, and distinction. And, guess what? They STILL DO. SCOTT MCKAIN/Author & Speaker, http://mckainviewpoint.com/why-your-business-should-be-more-like-the-oak-ridge-boys/
What the Oaks managed to do is take that energy out of gospel music and inject it into mainstream country. Hit after hit built upon Allen’s and Golden’s comparatively straight-ahead singing with Bonsall’s fiery top notes—with all held together by Sterban’s unfathomably deep bass…. these Boys seemed truly ageless after 40 years… Jim Bessman / EXAMINER, New York City, NY, http://www.examiner.com/review/the-oak-ridge-boys-are-as-strong-as-ever-at-40?cid=db_articles
These guys are consummate pros. They put on a heck of a show intertwining 40 years of hits with some of their new music plus gospel and patriotic songs. KYSS RADIO, Missoula, MT, http://kyssfm.com/missoula-loves-oak-ridge-boys-show/ (February 22, 2013)
Their show continues to be one of the hotter tickets at the Riverside because an Oak Ridge Boys show puts to shame many of the live shows of some of the big name acts with huge hits out today—those who haven't learned that entertaining is more than just singing your songs. LAUGHLIN, NEVADA ENTERTAINER, http://www.laughlinentertainer.com/articles/2013/02/12/news/cover/doc4b8da7eb73ab6906413423.txt (February 12, 2013)
At (The Oak Ridge Boys) Golden Nugget show, the man next to us from Austria, the couple from Texas, native Las Vegans, my friend from Canada and me—a New Yorker raised on rock 'n' roll and Broadway—all had a grand time. Being a source of enjoyment to such a diverse audience is, indeed, a unique gift. The Oak Ridge Boys possess it and the fact they are willing to share it is terrific. Ellen Sterling, THE HUFFINGTON POST, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-sterling/oak-ridge-boys_b_1714754.html (July 31, 2012)
Since hitting the top ten for the first time in 1977 with Y'all Come Back Saloon, the Oak Ridge Boys have carved out one of the most successful careers of all time.” Chuck Dauphin, BILLBOARD, http://www.billboard.com/column/the-615/oak-ridge-boys-venture-home-again-with-new-1006955352.story#/column/the-615/oak-ridge-boys-venture-home-again-with-new-1006955352.story (May 3, 2012)
The Boys Are Back fuses good-ol' God-fearing glory with blues and rock staples for this unusual collection of tunes, featuring new music and classics. http://www.californiachronicle.com/articles/yb/147219924
For more than a half-century, The Oak Ridge Boys have created an American music legacy all their own. Their foundational influence and award-winning history is attributed not only to their dynamic personalities and musical diversity, but also to great songs that have connected with the hearts of their audiences. http://www.latestmoviepreview.com/genres/music-video-concerts/the-best-of-the-oak-ridge-boys-a-gospel-journey/ (May 30, 2010)
One of the traditions that goes back many years and is consistant (sic) as the taste of a funnel cake is seeing the Oak Ridge Boys perform at the Kentucky State Fair. Jessica Blankenship, LEXINGTON COUNTRY MUSIC EXAMINER, http://www.examiner.com/x-18972-Lexington-Country-Music-Examiner~y2009m8d8-Kentucky-State-Fair-offers-sizzling-country-concerts (August 8, 2009)
… the show attracted a near-capacity audience, with a surprising number of smiling teens and college-age fans mixed in with the longtime supporters. ~ William Kerns, A-J ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR, http://lubbockonline.com/stories/062309/fea_453620846.shtml (June 23, 2009)
Even after the house lights came up, the crowd still called out for more. Randell Bolton, LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNEL.com (August 19, 2008)
The Oak Ridge Boys have continued to make the journey no matter what... through all of the incredibly tough times, through changes and adversity, through financial struggles, record deals, touring, and through the challenges of both Gospel and country music and the industry that controls them… The Oaks have always had a higher calling than any other group I know of, (They are) the supreme example of a "class act" in every way. Matthew Gillian, Historian/Broadcast Personality/Entertainer (January 10, 2008)
Sounding like the day they brought home the Grammy award for best country group in 1981, the Oaks (as they’re affectionately known) brought a high-energy show and didn’t leave the audience disappointed. Gary Carter, HERALD DEMOCRAT ONLINE (October 29, 2007)
(N)obody brings people together (more) than the wonderful Oak Ridge Boys. I left … wondering, how many of today's “hitmakers” could have drawn such a big crowd on such a miserable night. Tommy Jackson is a longtime Arkansas newspaper editor who now writes a weekly entertainment column for a number of papers in Arkansas and Missouri. (August 13, 2007)
It was fantastic. I loved how they blended the classic hits with the new songs and the gospel selections. Top notch performance! Kris Losh, Country Club In The Morning, WKDW, Staunton VA (March 5, 2007)
The Oak Ridge Boys serve as a reminder for the entire industry on how to evolve as an act over the course of time. They have lost none of their drive, their ability to select material that the public can identify with, and their delight in bringing that music to the masses in concert. Their recent performance at the CMA Music Festival is proof of the latter, and FRONT ROW SEATS is a fine example of one of Music City’s crown jewels continuing to raise the bar to a new musical level. NEW MUSIC MAGAZINE (September 22, 2006)
Speaking of Middle America, the mini-van driving audience went nuts for the band’s new rocking song “(Hard to Be Cool) In a Minivan… CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM, Wellington, OH (August 24, 2006)
(T)hey're part of the fabric of Americana...a marvel: utterly relaxed, supremely confident, vocally superb, and so supremely energetic... COURIER-JOURNAL, Louisville, KY (August 22, 2006)
Smiles were common in the crowd. Old couples held hands. Young couples spooned vertically. A dad rocked his baby on his hip in time to the music. It was a hot night on the fairgrounds. It was a slice of America. GAZETTE XTRA, Janesville, WI (July 31, 2006)
The audience, its gears jammed in the high "woo" and "yeah" positions, reacted by clapping and swaying along to the many familiar melodies and snapping photos with cell phones retrieved from fanny packs. THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, Columbus, OH (August 9, 2006)
The Oak Ridge Boys were a revelation. They introduced four new tunes, and they were the best things I’ve heard them sing in 20 years. Their pitch-perfect, four-part harmony proved that they have lost nothing vocally over these many years. BOB OERMANN, @ MUSIC ROW (August 4, 2006)
SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
Oh, what a tight, powerful vocal quartet can do with a superb acoustical space. After three trips to the Holland Performing Arts Center, the Oak Ridge Boys surely have mastered the hall…. The Boys and their six-piece backup band performed just over half their show with the symphony, which enhanced the quartet’s romantic ballads and boosted the power behind up-tempo songs like “Seven Nation Army….” Resident conductor Ernest Richardson was obviously enjoying himself, and the orchestra’s energy and charisma reflected its leader. Todd von Kampen, OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, (May 21, 2010) http://www.omaha.com/article/20110521/GO/705219832/0
There is no question, the Boys are back! With their trademark non-stop, high energy delivery, the Oak Ridge Boys had our audiences on their feet cheering mid-way through the show. As expected, “Elvira” brought the house down. They are as good as anybody on stage. Ann Koonsman, President and CEO, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association (July 13, 2009)
It's a credit to a veteran country group like the Oak Ridge Boys when almost half their Saturday concert with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra consisted of songs from a new album that was ballyhooed at Austin's trendy South by Southwest music conference this spring. It's even better when that unfamiliar material is received with cheers from people who showed up at Bass Performance Hall primarily for “Elvira” and “Bobbie Sue.” Shirley Jinkins, Fort Worth Star-Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX (June 21, 2009)
CHRISTMAS TOUR REVIEW
(T)he Oaks were in Portsmouth, performing for a sold-out crowd at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, the 12th Christmas show that the group has performed at that venue. As usual, the crowd saw an energetic and entertaining show from a foursome that has lasted 40 years while many other groups have fallen off the map. PEOPLESDEFENDER.COM (November 26, 2013) http://new.peoplesdefender.com/news/news_local_features/2988367/Oaks-bring-early-Christmas-to-Portsmouth
In their 24th season taking the Christmas tour on the road, the Oaks performed their timeless hits as well as favorite Christmas songs for the sold-out audience. I have been to many concerts over the years, but never one where the audience was welcome to walk right up to the stage and shake the hands of the singers during the performance. And yet, that’s what happens at almost every Oak Ridge Boys show. . . . Take note, younger and up-and-coming artists—this is how a band remains viable and relevant to their fans even after 40 years and more! . . . (W)ords alone cannot express highly enough how much I recommend that you make sure to catch their Christmas tour, or any one of their other 180+ dates throughout the year. Rocket. MUSIC NEWS NASHVILLE (November 17, 2013) http://www.musicnewsnashville.com/concert-review-christmas-times-a-coming-with-the-oak-ridge-boys/
There are just some shows you anticipate like clockwork. In the summer it's Lollapalooza and Summerfest. During the holidays it's Handel's "Messiah" and Christmas renditions from R&B, jazz, country, pop and American music artists. We say all that to say, it's also Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Show time. Whether you are a big country music fan during the rest of the year, or prefer your country in the Taylor Swift pop style, this is a seasonal chestnut that is not to be missed. CHICAGO TRIBUNE (December 17, 2010)
The quartet certainly painted this town red and white and green and gold. Their harmonious voices and warm demeanor made for a perfect intro into the holiday season. The Oaks entertained concert-goers with their big hits for the first half of the evening. But after intermission, it was all about Christmas. The snow was falling, the elves were dancing, the lights were twinkling and spirits were high. PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD / THE ENTERTAINER
The veteran foursome of lead singer Duane Allen, tenor Joe Bonsall, baritone William Lee Golden and bass singer Richard Sterban made the next-to-last stop on their “Christmas Cookies” tour at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, bringing a delightful mix of secular and religious holiday favorites and their own bag full of greatest hits.
The Oaks opened the concert with a 45-minute set featuring three new songs and seven of their biggest hits. Brad Patton, THE TIMES-LEADER, Wilkes Barre, PA (December 2008)
The “Mighty” Oaks Band
Jeff Douglas (guitar and dobro) Jeff Douglas was born and raised in Kentucky, spending most of his early years in the small town of Paris. An only child, his dad worked for the Post Office and his mom worked for the local school system. While attending the University of Kentucky, Jeff began working at a music store repairing and building guitars. It was in the local music scene that he met longtime friend, Paul Martin (Duane Allen’s son-in-law). Through this friendship he met the Oaks. In 1995, Jeff moved to the Nashville area to take a job as the Oaks’ Band Tech. He was later promoted to Stage Manager. Jeff has played the guitar since he was sixteen and in 1999, when the Oaks needed a bit of extra “fill” in the show, he began playing three or four songs on rhythm guitar. He initially played offstage while also attending to his production work. In 2004, after the Oaks released their bluegrass-flavored The Journey CD, Jeff bought a dobro and learned to play it so he could contribute to additional songs on the show. In his spare time Jeff enjoys woodworking, tennis, photography, and recording.
Ron Fairchild (keyboards) Born in 1958 and raised in Music City, Ron has an “Oak Ridge” heritage. His father, Tommy, played piano for The Oak Ridge Boys from 1957 until 1972! Ron has a 20+ year personal history with the group. With his knack for playing any instrument you can put in front of him and an uncanny technical mind, Ron has literally built his musical career piece by piece. He engineered the digital keyboard system he plays on stage and has built his own recording studio—one which is often used when the Oaks’ record. When not on the road or overseeing his studio, Ron enjoys sailing, learning to fly airplanes, and playing with his HAM radio and computers. He also loves watching hockey games.
Roger Eaton (lead guitar) Roger has toured with some of the biggest names in country music, including Barbara Mandrell, Lorrie Morgan, Joe Diffie, and Tanya Tucker. He is also a substitute guitarist in the Grand Ole Opry staff band, a session player, and a producer. He joined the “Mighty” Oaks Band in 2014.
David Northrup (drums/percussion) Central New York native, David Northrup has been on the Nashville music scene since 1995. The talented drummer and percussionist has extensive touring experience, matched by a long list of recording credits and work he has done with a multitude of artists in various genres, from rock legend John Waite, the James Brown Horns, John Mellencamp, and guitarist Les Dudek, to jam band sensation the Disco Biscuits. David has also worked with an array of country artists, including Wynonna Judd, Travis Tritt, Joe Diffie, Doug Stone, Tanya Tucker, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Lila McCann, Jo De Messina, Jo-El Sonnier, Pam Tillis, Ty Herndon, Lee Greenwood, Louise Mandrell, Connie Smith, Gene Watson, Deborah Allen, and Anthony Smith.
When not touring or recording, David also produces and works as an international clinician. For two consecutive years, he placed in the prestigious Modern Drummer Readers Poll, voted #3 Country Drummer and #2 Clinician of the year in 2008 and #2 Country Drummer and #2 Clinician in 2009.
His television and video appearances include the Tonight Show, the Today Show, the Jimmy Kimmel Show, the CMA Awards, the ACM Awards, CMT’s Flameworthy Video Awards, the 2005 Jammy Awards, GAC Grand Ole Opry Live, PBS Concert Special SoundStage, Farm Aid 2000, and many more.
Scotty Simpson (bass guitar) Scotty Simpson was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He began playing guitar at age eleven and within a few years had formed a band with his older brother, Steve. It quickly became apparent there was a problem; everyone wanted to play lead so there was no bass player. Scotty decided to give bass a shot, and the love affair began. He spent every waking hour sitting in front of the stereo, moving a record needle back again and again, until he learned every lick on every album he had. By the time he was fourteen he was playing in clubs. Luckily, his brother, who was ten years older, made for the perfect guardian, so Scotty’s parents allowed him to do so. A week after he got out of high school he took off on the road with a traveling club band—and never stopped. He moved to Nashville in 1996 and within a few months landed gigs with Tanya Tucker, Pam Tillis, and finally settled in with Travis Tritt for about thirteen years. Scotty says he’s thrilled to be facing new musical challenges and to work with legends like the Oaks.
Rex Wiseman (fiddle, pedal steel, mandolin, guitar) Rex Wiseman joined The Oaks Band in 2006. Born and raised in Birdseye, Indiana, Rex grew up in a musical family. His father, four brothers, and sister were “back porch” pickers, playing mostly for their own enjoyment. Rex, who was the youngest, learned to play the mandolin at age five. Eventually he taught himself to play fiddle, guitar, pedal steel, electric bass, dobro, banjo, and mandolin. At the ripe old age of 11, Rex became a “professional,” earning money by playing in a local country band with his brother. When he was 16, he put together his own band. Then in 1980, he moved to Nashville to work with Little David Wilkins. He subsequently worked with John Conlee, Bill Anderson, Rhonda Vincent, Billy Yates, Phillip Claypool, and Clay Walker. Rex’s early dream was for a solo record deal. His timing was less than perfect, however, because contemporary country was in vogue in the early eighties, and he played and sang traditional style. He finally gave up on solo aspirations in May 1985, two months before Randy Travis became an “overnight” sensation! Timing is everything! Rex has persevered through the turns his life has taken. Losing his mom at an early age, he learned the value of family and the importance of every moment. He has two daughters, Mary Jo and Kady, as well as three granddaughters. Rex, his wife Kim, and daughter Kady live in the Nashville area. In addition to music, another one of Rex’s lifelong passions has been horses and horse training.
The Oak Ridge Boys and Oaks Band endorse the following:
• Audio Technica
• Barcus-Berry Violins
• Bluechip Picks
• Deering Banjo
• DW Pedals
• Emmons Pedal Steel Guitars
• Evans (drumheads)
• Fender instruments
• Fishman Pickups
• GHS (strings)
• Gibson Mandolins
• Gold Tone Instruments
• Gretsch Drums
• John Pearse
• Larrivee´ Guitars
• L.R. Baggs
• Mesa Boogie Amps
• Muse Research
• Paige Capo
• Paul Reed Smith Guitars
• Pearl Hardware
• Peterson Strobe
• Seymour Duncan (pick-ups)
• Radial Engineering
• The Drum Dial
• Vater Drumsticks
• Zildjian Cymbals