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07 Feb 2017

Still Fancy Free: The Oak Ridge Boys Bring Their Blend of Gospel and Country to Spa Resort Casino

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The Oak Ridge Boys have been on a legendary run: They’ve had the same lineup together since 1973, more or less, and they’ve been touring and recording new music all along.

In 2017, expect more of the same from these Hall of Famers—including a show at the Spa Resort Casino at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18, as part of the Concerts Under the Palms series.

During a recent phone interview with Richard Sterban, he said he had recently enjoyed a precious few weeks off after wrapping up a holiday tour.

“We are busy!” Sterban said. “We just finished our 27th annual Christmas tour. We took a few weeks off, and we’re back out on the road. For the next couple of months, our schedule is unbelievable. We’re doing a lot of dates, and we’re going on a country music cruise—which can or cannot be fun. We’re talking about recording a new album with one of the top producers in Nashville. We don’t have a set date, an album title or any songs yet, given it’s in the talking stages, but we’re definitely going to record again. I think that’s what keeps us going after all these years: We love the creative process of going into the studio and recording new music.”

It took the Oak Ridge Boys more than four decades to release a live album—2014’s Boys Night Out.

“It seemed like we kept talking about doing it,” Sterban explained. “But then another opportunity would present itself: a chance to do another Christmas album, a chance to do another Gospel album, or a chance to do another country album. We always kept putting it on the backburner, and a couple of years ago, we decided to take the bull by the horns and actually do it. Our fans were wanting it.”

In 2015, the Oak Ridge Boys were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame—with the presentation by Kenny Rogers.

“When I look back on everything that has happened to us in our career, being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us,” Sterban said. “It’s difficult to find words to describe how special that whole thing was. It’s unbelievable. When you look at the people who are in there—like Elvis, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and now the Oak Ridge Boys—it’s something that’s very special. Words cannot describe it. It’s by far the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”

Sterban said touring never gets old.

“We average about 155 days a year. This year will be no exception,” he said. “Normally, the first part of our year is slow, and this year, it’s gangbusters. We’re going to be working quite a bit. We just love doing what we do. I think that’s the main reason why we’re still doing it after all these years. I think we have a very special relationship between the four of us, and each guy is different. Each guy in our group brings something different to the table. Over the years, we’ve become the very best of friends. I think we realized a long time ago that we need each other, and we pulled together as a team, and we’re a true brotherhood. That’s a big part of our longevity.”

There is one form of traveling that the Oak Ridge Boys try to avoid.

“We don’t fly very much. We fly as little as possible, because we hate airplanes,” Sterban said. “In fact, I just got back from my vacation and went to the Dominican Republic. I had to go through Customs in Miami, and I wouldn’t wish that anyone! Some of the hassles of traveling and going through security, that gets old. But we don’t do that too much. We go by bus as much as possible. Our bus is very comfortable, and we all have the comforts of home in our bus.”

Sterban said fans coming to see the Oak Ridge Boys can always expect a family-friendly good time.

“An Oak Ridge Boys show mainly consists of a lot of our hits,” he said. “People want to hear the familiar songs, so we do ‘Elvira,’ of course, ‘Thank God for Kids,’ ‘Y’all Come Back Saloon’ and a lot of our hits that we’ve had over the years. Last year, we had this gospel project, so we include some gospel music in our shows. We’re patriotic guys, so we do patriotic music that honors our country and our troops. Just in general, an Oak Ridge Boys show is a family show. There’s something for every member of the family. We encourage parents to bring their kids to the show. That’s what we’re all about.”

The Oak Ridge Boys will perform at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18, at Spa Resort Casino, 401 E. Amado Road, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $35 to $45. For tickets or more information, call 888-999-1995, or visit www.sparesortcasino.com.

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