15 The Crown Theatre will present its 84th season of Community Concerts featuring the Oak Ridge Boys Friday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m.

In a musical career that has spanned over three decades, the quartet has broken the mold for classic country music. The band members are William Lee Golden, baritone; Richard Sterban, bass; Joe Bonsall, tenor; and Duane Allen, lead vocals.

Their music is universal, and they are currently in overdrive touring for their 150-day-long “Front Porch Singin’ Tour.”

“At the concert, there are some things that are very obvious, and you are going to hear me sing ‘Giddy up omm poppa mow mow’ because that song is the law,” said Richard Sterban.

“It is quite an interesting story how the song “Elvira” came about,” he said.

Last year was the 40th anniversary of their signature song, “Elvira,” and the band is celebrating it. A gentleman named Dallas Frazier wrote the song. Several years ago, Frazier was driving home from a recording session in East Nashville, and he saw a street sign that said Elvira Street.

He pulled up to the street sign and wrote on a piece of paper, “Elvira, Elvira, my heart is on fire for Elvira.”

Then he wrote the “Giddy up omm poppa mow mow” part because that imitated the bumps on the road, the potholes on Elvira Street. When he got home, he finished the song and wrote the verses about a woman so that the music would make more sense, but the song’s original inspiration came from a street sign in East Nashville.

“I’ve talked to a lot of songwriters, and they have told me that you never know where the inspiration to write a song is going to come from,” Sterban said. “So that is the story about the song that most people do not know.”

Some of their chart-topping hits are “Elvira,” “Thank God for Kids,” “Just A Little Talk With Jesus,” “Come On In,” “Bobbie Sue” and these hits propelled them to sell over 41 million albums, have over 30 top ten hits and more than a dozen national number one singles.

“We will perform a lot of our hits, and our most requested song is “Thank God for Kids,” Sterban said. “William Lee Golden, the guy with the long beard in our group, does a good job of interpreting those lyrics and communicating it to the audience.”

The group can glide across musical genres as they have recorded both country and gospel hits.

“We make our living singing country music, but we all grew up singing gospel music, and we love it,” Sterban said. “We are also excited about our latest album, ‘The Oak Ridge Boys Front Porch Singin’ and it is very inspirational music, and a lot of it is gospel, but there are some new country songs on it.”

He added, “All of the songs are very meaningful, and it really is the kind of music that we need to hear right now with all of the things that are going on in the world today.”
Oak Ridge Boys recorded their latest album in a very informal manner. The group walked into the recording studio in Nashville, and their producer, Dave Cobb, asked the question, “Fellas, if you guys were on the bus and you were getting ready for a show, what would you sing?”

The lead singer, Allen, immediately began singing an old spiritual called “Swing Down Chariot.”
The other members joined in and started harmonizing with him. This is a song they have known for years and had never recorded.

“Dave told us to get to the microphones immediately to record the song,” Sterban said. “We sang the song, and we were probably in the studio for less than an hour, and it was a done deal.”
Sterban added, “I think this is a great example of how this album was recorded in an unstructured setting of four guys harmonizing together.”

Their hardcore fans affectionately call them “The Oaks,” and over the years, they have become known for their Christmas music. “We have eight Christmas albums, and for over 30 years, we have done a great Christmas tour on the road, and it is the biggest part of our year,” Sterban said. “We do our Christmas Show every night from Thanksgiving up until Christmas Eve night except Tuesdays, and it is a great family show.”

Their musical awards include the Country Music Hall of Fame, Gospel Music Hall of Fame, five Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, four Academy of Country Music Awards, four Country Music Association Awards, 11 Dove Awards, five Billboard Awards, eight Cashbox Awards, they are members of the Grand Ole Opry and many more.
Sterban has been in the music industry for decades and has some valuable advice for young aspiring bands.

“This is a very competitive business, and a lot of young acts try to make it, and only a handful really do make it,” he said. “My advice is to decide what you want to do, work on your craft, sing every chance that you get, strive to become the best performer that you can possibly become and never slough off because you never know who will be listening.”

With so many accolades and accomplishments under their belt, the Oak Ridge Boys have no plans on retiring anytime soon.

“For the next few years at least, we are going to keep doing what we love doing, and that’s recording, traveling and taking our music live to our fans,” Sterban said. “Come out and join us for a night of good music and family entertainment because we are so happy to be back on stage working again.”

For ticket information, visit www.capefeartix.com.

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