• The Oak Ridge Boys 40th Anniversary Tour begins 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.
In the meantime, the Boys kick off their 2012 Christmas Time’s A Comin’ Tour in November. Each of the 30-plus shows will feature songs from the group’s new Gaither Music Christmas CD, Christmas Time’s A-Coming, as well as from their five preceding Christmas albums. The Grand Ole Opry is featuring 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 Oaks 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 2001.
• 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.