Music

Oak Ridge Boys rolling into Missoula for 40th anniversary tour

2013-02-10T06:00:00Z 2013-02-10T06:09:41Z Oak Ridge Boys rolling into Missoula for 40th anniversary tourBy Martin Kidston of the Missoulian missoulian.com

When the Oak Ridge Boys roll into Missoula this month, they might arrive in a celebratory mood – 40 years as a group and 30 years since the release of “Elvira,” their smash album.

But while celebrations are a good thing, the Oak Ridge Boys aren’t living in the past. They’ve survived the test of time, and they have big plans for their performance future.

“This is our 40th anniversary tour, but it’s by no means our farewell tour,” said Richard Sterban, the group’s baritone singer. “As long as the good Lord above allows us to have good health, we’ll continue to do it. We’ve been around a long time, and we’re still having fun.”

You can’t discuss the evolution of country music, harmony or Nashville hits without mentioning the Oak Ridge Boys. The group has recorded more than a dozen No. 1 singles and 30 Top 10 hits.

They’ve played for five U.S. presidents dating back to Jimmy Carter, and they’ve recorded with the likes of Paul Simon, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Roy Rogers, Ray Charles and – yes – Billy Ray Cyrus.

“If you’d told any of us 40 years ago that we’d still be doing this 40 years later, and at a high level, we wouldn’t have believed it,” said Sterban. “We love doing what we do. We look forward to getting on stage every night, and we enjoy the creative process.”

The Oak Ridge Boys trace their roots back to the 1940s and the old gospel tradition. By the late 1960s, more than 30 members had come and gone. Sterban joined the Oaks in 1972, followed by tenor Joe Bosnall in 1973.

“I feel like I can do what I do on stage just as good now as I could 20 years ago,” Bonsall said. “I plan to be rocking 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.”

While the group rose in popularity in the gospel music circuit, Sterban said, they’ve pushed into new formats that continue to evolve.

In 1977, Simon asked the group to sing backup for his own hit, “Slip Slidin’ Away.” More recently, the group recorded a cover of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes.

“When we throw those songs at the audience, it’s fun to watch their reaction,” said Bonsall. “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.”

As the four key Oaks continue their 40th anniversary tour, Sterban laughs and says it’s easier to name the places they haven’t been than the places they have. The list of stops is long and growing, but the Oak Ridge Boys wouldn’t have it any other way.

“When we come to town, we try to find a nice balance,” said Sterban. “But we realize people want to hear the hits. We’re going to celebrate these 40 years, and we’ll do a lot of those hit songs that made us who we are.”

Those hits include “Elvira,” “Ya’ll Come Back Saloon,” “American Made,” “Fancy Free” and “Bobby Sue,” among others. Sterban said fans will hear plenty of “oom-papa-mow-mows” when they perform Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the University of Montana’s Dennison Theatre.

Fans expect the classics, he said. But concert-goers also will hear something new.

“We want to include some of the new music,” said Sterban. “We’ll include that as well. We have a gospel music background. We like to include that. That certainly celebrates our past. But creating new music has put new life and new energy into the four of us.”

Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 523-5260, or at martin.kidston@missoulian.com.

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

ZooMontana's 3 otter babies

Jeff the Nature Guy introduces Maverick, Billy the Kid and Annie Oakley, the three newest baby river otters…

Hellgate Wind Ensemble

Hellgate Wind Ensemble

The Hellgate Wind Ensemble plays part of Missoula composer David Maslanka's "Give Us This Da…

Missoula Art Museum’s Ruby Jubilee

Missoula Art Museum’s Ruby Jubilee

Celebrating four decades of contemporary art

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

JuBELLation Handbell Choir of Missoula First United Methodist Church plays "We Wish You a Me…

Holly & the Ivy

Holly & the Ivy

JuBELLation Handbell Choir of Missoula First United Methodist Church plays "Holly and the Ivy."

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter

JuBELLation Handbell Choir of Missoula First United Methodist Church plays "In the Bleak Midwinter."

Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls

JuBELLation Handbell Choir from Missoula First United Methodist Church plays "Deck the Halls."

The Missoulian gears up for the biggest paper of 2014

The Missoulian gears up for the biggest paper of 2014

Join editor Sherry Devlin in the pressroom for the details on our Thanksgiving newspaper.

Deals & Offers

Search our events calendar

loading...