Oak Ridge Boys at Renfro Valley – Photo by Jessica Blankenship
History is always being made when it comes to the Oak Ridge Boys. Saturday night at Renfro Valley Entertainment Center was no exception to that. This year, Renfro Valley is celebrating 75 years of honoring music. Throughout the night, Joe Bonsall would provide little tidbits of information and history through the life and times of the Oak Ridge Boys. Even after 41 years of playing, they are still strong and hopefully continue to play for even more.
ORB Tidbit: Did you know that they have sold over 41 million albums worldwide? Because of the world wide distribution of the latest live album, the Oak Ridge Boys version of “American Made” is currently number one in Portugal.
Before the show, I had the opportunity to visit with the guys briefly. I ended up meeting a couple of folks who come to find out are distant kinfolks to me, as well as William Lee Golden. We went to high school together and didn’t really know each other until the other night. While we were standing there, Duane Allen came down and shook hands, speaking to each and everyone. He looked at me and noticed that I had a Hank 3 shirt on. We spoke for a bit and he thanked us for coming out.
It was my turn and instantly Joe said “there is our pal Jessica!” with a big hug. Their tour manager took quite a few photos with my phone (thank you!) and the guys spoke briefly. I gave Joe a flash drive of photos from previous shows at Renfro Valley and the KY State Fair. Talk about a lot of history with special guests in those photos. Sometime I will have to share those with you guys.
Jessica and the Oak Ridge Boys at Renfro Valley, KY
Soon it was showtime and I got in my seat. It was a PACKED sold out house with fans clapping and singing along to their favorite hits of the Oak Ridge Boys. Needless to say, we were in for a treat as they performed quite a few songs that I hadn’t heard them sing live in many years. One of the highlights for me was hearing “Where the Soul of Man Never Dies,” as it instantly put chills down my spine hearing their harmonies on this great song.
ORB Tidbit: The last time the Oak Ridge Boys played at Renfro Valley was on June 28th, 2013. Joe Bonsall joked that they only come for the fried chicken over at the Lodge Restaurant.
Here is most of the Oak Ridge Boys Renfro Valley Set List for 6/28/2014. I missed a couple of songs, but here is the list:
Dig a Little Deeper
Gonna Take a Lot of River
Ya’ll Come Back Saloon
Ozark Mountain Jubilee
Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight
Trying to Love Two Women
ORB Tidbit: Trying to Love Two Women was #1 in 1980 on June 28th.
Roll Tennessee River
Baptism of Jesse Taylor
ORB Tidbit: Dallas Frazier who wrote Baptism of Jesse Taylor also wrote Elvira.
Where the Soul of Man Never Dies
I’ll Be True To You
Beyond Those Years
No Matter How High I Get
Touch a Hand, Make a Friend
It was right after this song, Joe Bonsall gave his thanks to those in attendance and how they love Kentucky. He gave a special hello to my pal John Herndon with the Anderson County newspaper as his mom was there with him. Joe then mentioned me and joked that he knows I will provide a wonderful review on them. (And he is right!)
Soon the concert would conclude with the crowd singing “Elvira” and followed up with “Bobbie Sue.” The funny thing is that during Touch a Hand, William Lee Golden came out into the crowd and shook hands all around as well as singing. We didn’t see where he was during Elvira, but you could hear him. Soon during “Bobbie Sue,” he reappears on stage (see video below).
I have said it time before and I will say it again, the Oak Ridge Boys are a fine bunch of entertainers. You definitely get your money’s worth and it is a family friendly show. They have fans of all ages and you can bet that you will be signing along with them.
Thanks guys for the memories. Looking forward to the Kentucky State Fair in August!
Jessica Bray is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.