The 1982 GRAMMY AWARDS
“Giddy up, oom poppa omm poppa mow mow
Giddy up, oom poppa omm poppa mow mow
It’s one of the most recognizable songs in music history
“Then I’m singing, Elvira. Elvira!”
And the 1981 hit by The Oak Ridge Boys, just turned 40.
“My heart is on fire, for Elvira.”
For Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, Richard Sterban and William Lee Golden, performing that song never gets old.
“I don’t know that it feels like 40 years,” says tenor Joe Bonsall. “It’s been a quick 40 years in some ways, I guess.” Lead singer Duane Allen chimed in saying, “It’s almost like the Hallelujah chorus now. We start doing that song, people start standing up. It’s quite phenomenal really.” “Even here 40 years later,” began bass Richard Sterban, “it’s kinda fun to be on stage and look out there and see all the men trying to do the ‘Oom Poppa Mow’ part. It really is fun.”
Beginning as a Gospel quartet out of Nashville, The Oak Ridge Boys ventured into secular country music in the early 70’s. The now Country Music Hall of Famers went on to collaborate with musical legends, perform for five presidents and win five Grammy’s and numerous other awards. In all those years, they continued to write and perform songs with a positive, encouraging message.
“We want to give people something good to think about to take them away from the problems they’ve been going through in their life all week long,” said Duane. “When you leave our show we want you to feel better than when you came.”
In their nearly 50 years together, “The Boys”, never stopped performing, averaging 150 or more shows a year. That is, until March 14th, 2020, when the group performed what would be their last show before the COVID pandemic shutdown.
“It was a weird feeling,” commented baritone William Lee Golden, “and it was on the way home that we realized that we’re probably not going to be working for a while.”
With their tour bus parked indefinitely, the four men were able to enjoy rare time at home with their families. Still, they couldn’t wait to get back on the stage.
Joe said, “Every one of us has spent our whole lives on the road in one group or another and most of our lives, on the road singing, doing shows. That’s what we do. All of a sudden with that shut down, you’re home.” Duane added, “I love being at home, but the boys, we’re made to sing.”
However, they say through the years there’s always been something more than music binding them together and keeping them going even in their lowest moments – faith in Christ.
“My faith is real simple,” Duane said warmly. “Each year I try to get closer to Him, and I don’t make Him complicated. I just make Him welcome.” “God has really blessed us, man,” admitted Joe, “He comes first and we try to shine that light as well. We never, ever, ever didn’t believe that we would be okay.”
While their 2020 tour had to be cancelled, that didn’t keep them out of the studio. Revisiting their roots in Gospel Music, they returned to the style of old church hymns which brought new music, renewed spirits, and perfect harmony…
The Boys joined together and sang a few bars of a familiar Gospel tune, “…the hills the tunnels, never falter, never fail, keep your hand upon the throttle and your eye upon the rail.” “And it’s just as natural as that,” Duane said as they finished. “And that’s the way the whole album came down.”
In August 2020 the Boys recorded their new album, ‘Front Porch Singin’. It aims to share a positive message needed in the world today.
“I think God had a plan for this album. I really do,” Joe said earnestly. “I think that it was bigger than the four of us even realized when we were working on it.” “If you look at all the songs that are on that album,” Duane said, “every one of them has something good to say. And that’s what we want people to get out of that album when they listen to it.” Joe added, “And if you put Jesus at the very top of that, then man, you can move mountains.”
As 2021 got underway, the Boys were able to get back on the road and to what they were made to do – sing.
Joe said, “That’s the answer to every single question. ‘Let’s sing!’” Richard added, “You’re looking at four guys here right that are chomping at the bits to get out there and do what our calling is in life.”
The Oak Ridge Boys are now on their ‘Elvira 40 Tour’ as they share both new music and highlight their classics…
Looking at a packed audience from the Grand Ole Opry stage, a fiery Joe cued up the group’s biggest hit, ‘Most of this nation was singing, ‘Elvira’ with the Oak Ridge Boys!’
The four men all joined in singing, “Elvira. Elvira!”
“My faith in God is stronger in my life right now then it’s ever been,” admitted Joe. “And I give Him the honor, the praise and the glory.” “He’s helped us get through a very, trying year,” Duane said with gratitude.” Joe clapped his hands and said, “The boys are back! You ain’t kidding man.”
As the quartet continued their Opry performance, they began singing one of their new songs, “We wish you love, light, and healing. Home, family, and faith…”
“It’s been trying, but yet at the same time I have felt comfort through all of it,” Joe said with a smile. “And that’s what faith truly does, it comforts your soul. Jesus Christ can do that if you’ll allow him to.”
The legendary voices ended their performance singing, “…Let’s pray for love, light, and healing Home, family, and faith.”
The Oak Ridge Boys’ new album ‘Front Porch Singin’ drops on June 11th, 2021! To stay up-to-date with more news from the Boys or to follow their tour, check the links below!