The Oak Ridge Boys are an American country and gospel vocal quartet. The band stretches back to the 1940s as the Oak Ridge Quartet. They were featured in Time magazine in the 1950s as one of the most prominent gospel bands.
During the late 1970s, the band found its niche in country music — crossover hits include "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight" in 1979, “Trying to Love Two Women,” in 1980 and “Elvira,” in 1981.
The band's popularity and exposure have only grown since then. The band has released 12 gold albums, three platinum and one double platinum album.
The Oak Ridge Boys – the rebranded group – has received 15 Country Music Awards nominations and won two: Vocal Group of the Year in 1978 and Single of the Year in 1981 for “Elvira.”
Beyond their many awards, they have performed before five presidents.
“Back in December, President Bush passed away and we sang amazing grace during his funeral,” band member Richard Sterban said. “We established a relationship with President Bush 35 years ago. I would say singing at the funeral was a tremendous honor for us.”
Tickets are available at sanduskystate.com
Sterban sat down with the Register for a Q&A.
Q: How long have you been performing with the Oak Ridge Boys?
RS: For about 47 years. I joined in 1972. I was singing with Elvis and received a phone call from William Golden. He wanted to know if I would be interested in joining the Oak Ridge Boys. I had to make a fast decision. I was a big fan of the Oak Ridge Boys. I felt like the boys had great potential. So I made the decision to leave Elvis to join the Oak Ridge Boys.
Q: What drew you to the music industry?
RS: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Blessed with talent, I started singing when I was 6-years-old at church. Elvis drew me into the music scene. I started collecting records as a child and I would listen to music all the time. Gospel music also encouraged me to pursue music.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
RS: Being a member of the Oak Ridge Boys. There is something very special about that. Being part of this group and brotherhood makes being a musician special.
Q. Could you describe the band’s sound?
RS: It’s a very unique sound. Each band member brings a different sound, personality and look. I would consider us as a gospel quartet with a rock n roll and country style.
Q: What is your favorite song to perform and why?
RS: A highlight for me is performing, “Thank God For Kids.” William Golden is such a phenomenal storyteller when singing. He has the ability to interpret a lyric and communicate those emotions to an audience. This song is so touching and moving for people. I love bringing emotions to music, having people hug one another, have tears in their eyes and are moved by our performance.