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Oak Ridge Boys coming to Pigeon Forge
By Michael Williams

oak ridge boysThe Oak Ridge Boys. Image courtesy of ORB.

It has been a big year for the Oak Ridge Boys. The band won a Dove Award recently for their 2015 recording "Sweet Jesus," a song written by the late Merle Haggard. It was the first time the Oaks recorded with Haggard and struck gold. The song earned Haggard his first Gospel Music Award.

"It was wonderful to do that song. Merle sang on the track," said Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys. "We had never worked with Hag {Haggard) before and it was amazing. It was one of his last recordings and what a way to take a final bow."

This year the band kicked off their 2016 tour dubbed β€œThe Never Ending Tour" which is intended as a celebration of their hits, their longevity and several other noteworthy accomplishments.

"We are celebrating 42 years of being together," said Bonsall. "We are celebrating joining the Grand Ol' Opry, celebrating being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, we are celebrating everything. everyone is feeling good and sounding good and good things keep happening."

Bonsall has authored several books including "on the Road with the Oak Ridge Boys," which gives the reader a glimpse into the personal lives of the band as they travel the road and in their daily lives. The book is a plethora of anecdotes, personal insights and golden memories.

During the more than four decade career the Oaks have charted 50 hits including 35 top tens and 18 number one hits. They are known for such hits as "Bobbie Sue,” "Dream On,” "Y'all Come Back Saloon,” and numerous others. But the most iconic song in their collection is undoubtedly "Elvira."

"When I first heard the song I knew it was going to be a hit," said Bonsall. "We first performed it in Spokane, Washington and the audience went bananas. The song went to number one within weeks and we performed it on the Tonight Show. That song took us from being a well-known country act to a household name."

The music of the Oaks has proven timeless transcending multiple generations with its appeal. The Oaks fan base range from preteens to seniors.

"I was at first a little surprised when I saw young kids in our audience," said Bonsall. "But the kids hear the grandfather's old eight tracks and their dad's old records and they become fans."

The Oaks will be appearing at Country Tonite for two shows May 28 at 3 p.m and 8 p.m.. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased by calling 865-453-2003.

Published May 20, 2016

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