International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA)
honors Oaks at 35th Annual Awards Banquet
Spring Hill Music recording artists The Oak Ridge Boys were honored Tuesday night at the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) Convention in Nashville. The annual awards banquet, held at the Hilton Suites in downtown Nashville, featured Bill Engvall as emcee and the IEBA Pat Patrick Orchestra on stage.
Industry veteran and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Jim Foglesong presented The Oak Ridge Boys with the Living Legend Award in recognition of their many contributions to the entertainment industry. Foglesong’s presentation chronicled the foursome’s career from their early days as a Gospel quartet to their first break into country and pop music in the early ‘70s as well as the new music they are recording today.
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush surprised the group with a special congratulatory message taped prior to the evening’s events. Highlights of the group’s career were captured in a six-minute video, which included clips of the group’s appearances on “The Tonight Show,” the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards and the Johnny Cash television series.
Lead singer Duane Allen stated, “It is an honor to be presented the Living Legend Award by IEBA, the people who book us in their fairs, festivals, special events and concert venues. These are our business partners who sign the checks that pay our bills. I am humbled by their kindness; I cherish their friendships; and I look forward to working with these people for the rest of our career.”
Other performers receiving honors during the evening included country star Vince Gill, who received the Humanitarian Award, as well as Cheap Trick, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Oak Ridge Boys originated in 1943 when the group performed country and Gospel music in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and were known as The Oak Ridge Quartet. They began regular Grand Ole Opry appearances in the fall of ‘45; and by the mid-’50s, they were featured in Time magazine as one of the top drawing Gospel groups in the nation.
By 1973, the group had evolved into its present day line-up: William Lee Golden, Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall and Richard Sterban. In 1977, their hit “Y’all Come Back Saloon” catapulted them to the top of the country music scene; and they continued with a string of hits including “American Made,” “Thank God for Kids,” “Bobbie Sue,” “I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometime,” “Elvira” and many more soon-to-be classics.
Their career has spanned decades and includes five GRAMMYS and numerous CMA and Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, two American Music Awards and multiple DOVE Awards. They have performed before three presidents, produced one of the first country music videos and headlined worldwide tours. They have served as spokesmen and/or board members of fundraisers for the Boy Scouts of America, the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse and Feed The Children, among others.
The Oak Ridge Boys are also currently being honored with an exhibit in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Their new Christmas album, Christmas Cookies, (Spring Hill Music) hits the streets on October 11th, coinciding with their Christmas Cookies tour, taking them to over 20 cities this season. Music from the new recording will also be featured on the group’s upcoming Christmas tv special, taped in conjunction with Feed the Children, which begins airing on October 22nd.
The group has been heard in recent months on country radio with their single “Someplace Green” and on Gospel radio with their single “You Can’t Fix It,” featured on their recent Gospel album Common Thread. They continue to appear on national media outlets as they work with the National Association of Music Education (MENC) and its efforts to promote the National Anthem Project, in addition to performing over 150 dates annually.
“We’re not willing to rest on our laurels,” William Lee Golden says. “That gets boring. As a group, we do things constantly to challenge ourselves, to try to do something different or better than the last time we did it.”
The Oak Ridge Boys’ current recordings are available everywhere and are distributed by Word Distribution/WEA and digitally by EMI CMG Distribution. For further information, visit www.springhillmusic.com or www.oakridgeboys.com.