VERSAILLES — The country vocal quartet Oak Ridge Boys are set to perform in Versailles at the BMI Indoor Speedway on Saturday, May 5.
They started as a gospel group and became widely know in this genre. It was not until the 1970s they began transitioning into country music stars.
While the group has went through its share of members over the years, the current four members, William Lee Golden, Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, and Richard Sterban, have been together since the early 70s. Sterban, who sings bass, explained why he thinks the group has had such a long, successful career.
“We love doing what we do, even after all these years,” said Sterban. “There is a special relationship between the four of us. Each man in the group is different…and I think that is the appeal.”
He said another thing that has given them longevity is how much they still enjoy the creative process. They love getting in the studio and recording new songs. He said the group has not changed who they are but has kept new and current by working with some of the hottest producers, such as Dave Cobb, who produced their newest album 17th Avenue Revival.
“Recording new music is really important to the Oak Ridge Boys,” said Sterban.
The group worked with Cobb eight years ago, and he made them go beyond what they were used to musically but still maintained the Oak Ridge Boys style. The vision Cobb had for the new album was one similar to a church revival. He wanted to capture that soulful feeling that emulates from gospel music.
Sterban said the entirety of the album is not just gospel songs, though.
“A lot of it is the old gospel hymns that we sang as little kids in church, but there are some really cool country songs on there as well, written by some of today’s well-known country writers,” said Sterban. “It’s kind of a retro project. We were able to capture that earthy, down home kind of a feel.”
According to Sterban, it was almost like singer Elvis Presley was there in the historical Nashville RCA Studio A recording studio. He said this project was a very special one, maybe even more so because of his personal ties with Elvis. Prior to joining the Oak Ridge Boys, Sterban sang with the one and only Elvis Presley.
“I got to know Elvis and I have some very fond memories of the times I spent with Elvis. It was a very special time in my life,” he said.
William Lee Golden called Sterban and invited him to replace the bass singer of the Oak Ridge Boys, who had left the group. He said he followed his heart, despite the criticism many gave him for leaving Elvis.
“I made that major decision in life to leave Elvis and to join the Oak Ridge Boys.”
He said he was always a fan of the Oak Ridge Boys and felt like the group had a lot of potential. He said he never regretted that decision to leave Elvis. While it has changed his life, he feels it has changed his life for the better.
Sterban has written a book, From Elvis To Elvira: My Life On Stage, about his time with Elvis and his life as a musician in general. The book is set for publication on August 1.
The performance in Versailles will feature the band’s hit songs, such as “Elvira,” “Thank God For Kids,” and “Bobbie Sue.” He said the group is really excited about there latest album and will be performing some of the songs from it at the concert in Versailles.
According to Sterban, fans have expressed their latest songs have been affecting their life’s in drastic ways. That is what they plan on doing at their concert.
“It’s going to be a great night of Oak Ridge Boys hits and Oak Ridge Boys music and family entertainment. That’s really what the Oak Ridge Boys are all about.”
Tickets for the May 5 concert can be found at http://www.bmikarts.com/The-Oak-Ridge-Boys—Shine-The-Light-Tour-2018_p_7629.html