Fair Continues To Offer Entertainment
When the Oak Ridge Boys take the main stage at Town and Country Days Saturday at 8 p.m., they will undoubtedly be met with a huge crowd clamoring to hear their numerous hits.
“Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight,” “Trying to Love Two Women,” “Come on In”, and other hits made the Oaks regular visitors to the top of the country charts. Then “Elvira” and “Bobbie Sue” took them to the pop hit parade as well. Meanwhile, they found time to appear on such smashes as Brenda Lee’s “Broken Trust” and George Jones’ “Same Old Me.” Thanks to Oaks hits such as “American Made,” “Ozark Mountain Jubilee,” “Thank God for Kids”, and their hit revival of The Staple Singers’ “Touch a Hand, Make a Friend,” the group racked up 10 Gold albums, two Platinum ones and a Double Platinum collection between 1977 and 1987.
While the hits are sure to be on the show’s itinerary, some songs from their latest album, The Boys Are Back, may well be on tap. The Boys Are Back is a roots-music revelation wherein the veteran quartet explores blues, country, Gospel, and rock textures. Producer David Cobb brought the group styles and songs it has never attempted before, from John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” to Neil Young’s “Beautiful Bluebird,” from Jamey Johnson’s stone-country “Mama’s Table” to the blues classic “Troubl’in Mind.” “Hold You in My Arms” comes from pop star Ray Lamontagne. Country rebel Shooter Jennings wrote the collection’s title tune especially for the Oaks. “Live with Jesus” and “You Ain’t Gonna Blow My House Down” are Nashville songs, while “Hold Me Closely” comes from Los Angeles. This album’s innovative repertoire is perhaps best illustrated by The Oak Ridge Boys’ striking version of The White Stripes’ song “Seven Nation Army.”
“We’ve been around so long,” observes the group’s Duane Allen. “We really needed this infusion of new energy.”
“As a group, we thought it was time to do something different,” adds bass singer Richard Sterban. “We wanted the chance to get outside the box a little bit and go down some roads we haven’t been down before. We all felt that now was the time to give it a try. It’s turned out to be a very good thing.”
“It’s great after all these years that we still get to make exciting new music,” says baritone William Lee Golden. “I just feel so blessed.”
“I think if you’re going to stay around as long as us, reinvention is absolutely, 100 percent necessary,” says tenor Joe Bonsall. “We’re still out here, and we’re still smokin’ along because we’ve got four guys who are always thinking ahead, looking forward.”
This quartet came together back in 1973 as a Gospel group lauded as one of the industry’s premier artists. The Oak Ridge Boys outraged purists when they grew their hair long and stopped wearing matching suits. Then they reinvented themselves as country stars with 1977’s “Y’All Come Back Saloon.”
“This new music takes our whole show in another direction,” says Bonsall. “I’m pretty doggone pumped about it.”
“We’re doing a lot of these new songs in our stage show now,” says Sterban. “And it’s amazing how well they’re going over. We open the show with ‘The Boys Are Back.’ The first thing they hear out of the chute every night is me. Then Golden comes out, and the excitement builds as each guy comes out and adds to the song-Duane, and then Joe comes flying out.”
See the show for yourself Saturday night at Town and Country Days at the Wetzel County 4-H Grounds located three miles east of New Martinsville on state Route 7.
Admission is $8 per day for ages five and up. Children under five enter the fair for free. Also, senior citizens ages 65 and up are admitted free until 1 p.m. on Thursday. Season passes are $30 per person. Entertainment and carnival rides are included in the price of admission. However, there is an extra charge for the fun house and side shows.
Town and Country Days is online at www.townandcountrydays.org for a complete schedule of events.
Following are highlights for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday:
Aug. 12: FFA/4-H Judging, 9 a.m.; Euchre Game, 3:30 p.m., registration, 3 p.m.; Fun Horse Show, 5 p.m.; No Joe the Clown, 5 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Bingo, 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Deshler Amusements, 6-11 p.m.; ATV Motorcross, 7 p.m., registration, 5-6 p.m.; Abby Abbondanza, 8 p.m.; Drawing for Prizes, 9 p.m.
Aug. 13: Senior Citizens, 65 and up enjoy admission, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; Senior Citizen Activities, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Apple Butter Making, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; No Joe the Clown, 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m.; Fun Horse Show, 4:30 p.m.; Bingo, 4:30 p.m.; Deshler Amusements, 6-11 p.m.; FFA/4-H Club Auction, 7 p.m.; 4 x 4 Truck Pulls, 7 p.m., registration, 5 p.m.; Local Talent Show, 6:30 p.m., registration, 5:30 p.m.; Drawing for Prizes, 9 p.m.
Aug 14: Fun Horse Show, 4:30 p.m.; Deshler Amusements, 4-11 p.m.; No Joe the Clown, 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m.; ##Bingo, 6-11 p.m.; 4 x 4 Truck Pulls, 7 p.m., registration, 5 p.m.; Battle of the Bands, 7 p.m.; Drawing for Prizes, 9 p.m.
Aug. 15: Children’s Games, 10 a.m.; Kids’ Casting Contest, 10 a.m.; ATV/Motorcycle Drag Races, 11 a.m., registration, 10-11 a.m.; No Joe the Clown, 12 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m.; Pretty Baby Contest, 1 p.m., registration, noon; Horse Shoe Pitching, 1 p.m.; Auction, 1 p.m.; Carnival Matinee, Deshler Amusements, noon-5 p.m., 6-11 p.m.; Fun Horse Show, 2 p.m.; Bingo, 6-11 p.m.; Winner of Battle of the Bands, 6 p.m.; The Oak Ridge Boys, 8 p.m.; Drawing for Prizes, 9 p.m.