Joe Bonsall Releases ‘On the Road With the Oak Ridge Boys’ Book
Bonsall is offering readers a deeper look inside the iconic band with On the Road With the Oak Ridge Boys. In the book, he shares stories of the group's history, including introductions to each band member, stories of their run-ins with legends like Garth Brooks and Kenny Rogers, and an in-depth look at what it's like to be on the road with the group.
As the group's tenor, Bonsall has been there through it all -- from singing for presidents and accepting almost every major award in country music to performing for legions of fans -- as the tide of the country music industry has shifted over the years.
“When the lights dim, the theme music begins to play and our band members begin to take up their positions, it’s just as exciting today as it has always been throughout our long history,” Bonsall says in a press release. “We know that people have gathered to hear us sing our songs, and we never take one person in the audience for granted.”
The current quartet, made up of Bonsall, William Lee Golden, Duane Allen and Richard Sterban, began performing together in 1973, but the group has roots back as far as the 1940s, when a band from Knoxville, Tenn., started performing in the town of Oak Ridge. Band members have come and gone since then, but the core group has stayed together since '73, which Bonsall credits to their shared values.
“Through all these many miles we’ve traveled and everything we’ve been through together for more than 40 years, we haven’t really changed much as we’ve gotten older,” he says. “Singing, doing things right, honoring God and families in our lives ... these things are still what really matter the most to each of us.”
The band recently released a new gospel and hymns album, but they're still most known for their 1981 song "Elvira," which was a cross-genre hit and is consistently covered by groups today.
“Our little song has passed down through the generations,” Bonsall says. “Perhaps it’s a big reason the Oak Ridge Boys are still around. Our music, our shows and our own American spirit have been passed down from grandparents to parents to young couples and even on to their children. We see them all at our shows — still singing "Elvira" with the Boys!”
In addition to the new album, which was released on May 26, the Oak Ridge Boys are also celebrating their induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame, along with Jim Ed Brown and the Browns and the late Grady Martin.