When the Oak Ridge Boys play the Struthers Library Theatre next Friday at 8 p.m., they will bring with them 50 years of tradition, four decades of singles, 12 gold albums, three platinum albums, one double platinum album, one double platinum single, and more than a dozen national number one singles and over 30 top ten hits.
“An Oak Ridge Boys show is a good time, we feel like people want to hear the hit songs we’ve had over the years,” bass singer Richard Sterban said on Tuesday. “We will do as many of the hits as we can. ‘Elvira’ will be on the show list, that’s the law. That’s the biggest record we’ve ever had.”
The Oak Ridge Boys are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year with a tour with the original group lineup in place since 1973 – William Lee Golden, Duane Allen, Richard Sterban and Joe Bonsall.
“That’s a big deal for us, this is a very special tour, every stop, and we’re making Warren, Pa., one of those stops,” Sterban said.
That also includes the Oak Ridge Boys Band, the six-piece band that has accompanied the quartet for nearly the entire span of the group’s career.
“They do a great job,” Sterban said. “They travel with us and they’re a very vital part of our show. It wouldn’t be a Oak Ridge Boys show without them.”
The band averages 150 shows a year and is working on a 40th anniversary album for release for later this year that Sterban said may include live recordings as well as new material.
The band may also look to the vault to “pull out things that are in the can that have never been released by the Oak Ridge Boys,” Sterban said.
Playing the Struthers Library Theater in downtown Warren offers an intimate situation with the audience that came to see the group’s fan favorites.
“They really want to see you and that makes a difference,” Sterban said. “We enjoy those types of venues mainly because of the audience.”
Their string of hits includes the pop chart-topper “Elvira,” as well as “Bobbie Sue,” “Dream On,” “Thank God For Kids,” “American Made,” “I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes,” “Fancy Free,” “Gonna Take A Lot Of River” and many others.
“We also enjoy the creative process of going into the studio and creating new music,” Sterban said. We will include new music in the show along with the hits. Just in general a great night of country entertainment and family entertainment. A lot of hits, but some new music and some gospel and patriotic music. Something for every member of the family.”
For a band to play together for 40 years is quite an feat, a unique accomplishment that Sterban said isn’t typically seen in a group.
“Forty years for this combination to be together, we’ve had a long celebrated history, to say the least, and this whole year we will be celebrating our history,” he said. “We’re proud.”
Just don’t count on them slowing down.
“We do not plan to retire after this year,” Sterban said. “We’re still having fun, we’re still enjoying it.”