by Denise Enriquez
It was a beautiful night in Cedar Park, Texas at the Cedar Park Center. It was the first stop of the year for Country Music Hall of Fame members The Oak Ridge Boys – “we always start the year in Texas”, according to Joe Bonsall who took on the role as the evening’s narrator. On tour promoting their 31st studio album, “17th Avenue Revival”, Bonsall admitted that it felt good to be back on stage with everyone after not seeing each other for a few weeks. Along with Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban the boys were reunited after a short break upon completing their 29th annual Christmas tour, “Shine The Light On Christmas”; now gearing up for a solid run of shows already booked through May. Boasting unmatched longevity in the industry (originally formed in 1947, this lineup completed in 1973), The Oaks drew in a more mature crowd of attendees and many multi-generational groups and families.
See our photos from the show. With no opening act, the quartet promptly got down to business and fired up the crowd with 80’s hits “Everyday” and “American Made”. Taking turns on lead vocals, each member was featured as they harmonized some of their greatest hits; “Louisiana Red Dirt Highway” was a crowd favorite, sung and originally released by Golden. Bonsall told a story of an event they headlined last year named after their 2006 single “Did I Make A Difference”, a song that they hadn’t played live in years. He confessed that after reviving it at the request of event organizers it’s a set list staple at every show now, as they shifted gears from country music to gospel. They continued with some of their new material, including the catchy upbeat melody “Pray To Jesus” (and play the lotto) joking about debt relief and the comforting tune “Brand New Star” which Bonsall explained was sung at every concert “because there may be someone in the crowd that needs to hear it” and its reassuring lyrics about loved ones always being with us. Wrapping up the night and bringing the crowd to their feet, The Oaks closed with two of their seventeen number one singles: “Elvira” and “Bobbie Sue”; Sterban’s super bass verse “Giddy up oom poppa, omm poppa, mow mow” vibrated thru the arena to the delight of cheering fans.
We were so fortunate to have covered these guys last year in Nashville at Country Music Association music festival. They have a special relationship with Texas and we love them. A must see show for music fans.