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January 19, 2012

Oak Ridge Boys Release 31st Album

by Larry London

Not many bands that started during the 1940's are still making music, but that is not the case for the Oak Ridge Boys. At the start they called themselves the Oak Ridge Quartet, named after the Tennessee city that was part of the massive effort to develop the atomic bomb during World War II. Since then, the group has gone on to win numerous awards and record countless hits. Lead singer Joe Bonsall and tenor William Lee Golden spoke with us about the release of their newest CD It's Only Natural.

Country music is famous for its unique sounding music and no band in country music is more recognizable to country music fans than the Oak Ridge Boys. The current foursome continues a tradition dating back more than 60 years with the release of their 31st album, "It's Only Natural".

"The Oak Ridge Boys are still here, still having fun, and still making new music," said Bonsall.  "Great things are going on."

The Oak Ridge Boys are celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of their biggest hits with the new album.

"[The new CD] has six songs that are songs we have had before that have been hits for the Oak Ridge Boys and then it has five brand new songs," William Lee Golden explained.  "We also re-recorded 'Elvira.'"

"It ['Elvira'] went to the top of the country charts and spilled over into pop and rock and roll and went to the top of those [charts]," Golden added.  "Everybody in America was singing "Oom-Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow' with Joe and the Oak Ridge Boys in 1981".  

Elvira earned the Oak Ridge Boys a 'Best Country Performance by a Group' Grammy award in 1982, and is just one of dozens of hits over the years. With all of their success and achievements it would be hard to pick a highlight, but Bonsall says, "I would have to say being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry recently certainly ranks up there among the highest of all the wonderful things we have had the opportunity to experience in our career."

How can a band manage to stay together for seven decades?  

"I think music has a healing power," Golden explained.  "I think when we are able to sing and work as much as we do and travel as much as we do and sing the songs as much as we do, that is the highlight of the day.  When we get to go on stage and sing together.  Music has a healing power and also has a rejuvenating power too."

The Oak Ridge Boys are currently on tour in support of their new album "It's Only Natural" and from the sound of things, they have no intention of slowing down.