GUEST POST: @JoeBonsall ‘On the Road with @OakRidgeBoys: 40 Years of Untold Stories & Adventures’

the oak ridge boys

For Jessica Northey and

On The Road With The Oak Ridge Boys by Joseph S Bonsall (me) is a total inside look at a legendary American Group who has been singing together for 42 years. I am proud to be a spoke in that wheel and writing this book has been a labor of total love.

This is how we have done it and how we do it today and this book would actually make a great handbook for any music business student or a wanna be artist.

With chapters like THE BOYS, THE SONGS, THE TOUR, THE SHOW, THE BUS I make the reader a fly on the wall. It is like you are right there with us for the entire journey.

With Chapters like OLD FRIENDS, THE ORB DOCTRINE, PRICES PAID, WHAT IS HARD WHAT IS NOT and others I actually take you quite a bit farther…

This little book is insightful, funny, informative and actually very spiritual on many levels.

If you are a fan of the Oak Ridge Boys I think you will love this book. If you are not I sincerely believe you will STILL enjoy the ride.

Thank you as always Jessica Northey and #CMChat for always being there for me and for allowing me to share my writings and musings with you.

I am including here the prologue of On The Road With The Oak Ridge Boys You can easily order the book at or your favorite book outlet. On The Road is also available on Kindle and in the Apple iBook store. ONTWTORB is published by Harvest House Visit me online or email me at [email protected]

Thanks again Jessica!


“ Living Our Dreams”

When I was first approached about writing another book about the Oak Ridge Boys, I wasn’t really sure whether I could take it on. Writing is an all-consuming art, and although I’ve managed to write quite a few books over the years, this task seemed daunting.

Several years ago I wrote my heart out about the Oak Ridge Boys in a coffee-table book called An American Journey. I thought that book was the whole story. But my wife, Mary, inspired me to keep writing about the group, and I’m not sure she even realizes it. It was a summer afternoon, and I had to leave early that evening for a concert at a big Midwestern state fair. Normally we’d leave at around midnight, but Darrick Kinslow, our tour director, set the departure time for six p.m. to give us plenty of time to arrive in Somewhereville, USA, to get set up and prepare for the huge grandstand show the next day.

Mary and I decided to eat dinner out early. We picked one of our favorite places, which just happened to be right across the road from our offices and the gathering point for our departure. We drove there separately so she could head for home after dinner and I could drive over to our parking lot, grab my stuff, and board the bus. As I remember, it was to be a four-day trip.

After dinner, Mary and I sat together in her truck in the restaurant parking lot and watched the constant activity across the street. The two big black Prevost tour buses had started and were now on high idle. Band guys and crew guys were arriving. Some arrived by themselves while others were dropped off by family members or friends. The life of the road musician leaving home was being played out right there in that parking lot, and it was exciting to watch it unfold.

I was just about to tell Mary goodbye when she turned to me and said something I’ve never forgotten. With teary eyes and a halt in her voice, she said, “You know, hon…that’s a phenomenon going on over there. You guys are a phenomenon! It’s so hard to believe you all are still out there performing at such a high level…it’s just a phenomenon.”

After her voice trailed off, she regained her composure, kissed me, and added, “Now get going. You’re never the last one on the bus!” We both laughed, and I watched as she drove away in her big, white Silverado pickup, back home to a houseful of cats and, as usual, no husband for the next several days.

You have to realize that Mary Ann Bonsall never says much about the Oak Ridge Boys. Singing is what I do and what I’ve always done, so for me to get on the bus and leave home is a natural part of our lives. But this particular evening seemed a little different somehow. Mary doesn’t give props every day, so I must admit my heart was warmed as I parked my own truck and boarded the bus with a few shoulder bags, my laptop, and four days’ worth of clean laundry and stage wear (clean jeans and some cool shirts).

As is usually the case, I greeted and was greeted back warmly by two of my fellow Oaks, Duane Allen and Richard Sterban. Then our fourth member, William Lee Golden, pulled into the lot, so I was indeed not the last one to board the big bus—our rolling home away from home.

I threw my stuff into my designated area on the back couch, hung my clothes in my closet, and decided that even though it was early I would crawl in my bunk and get some sleep. I had worked hard on my farm the past few days, and I was tired. My stomach was full as well, so I settled in, pulled the covers up to my chin, and just lay there for a while.

I could hear the guys laughing and cutting up in the front lounge. Richard already found a baseball game on the TV in the back lounge, and Darrick, or DK as we call him, was already on the phone, talking to tomorrow’s promoter. Our driver pulled away from the office, the other bus full of band and crew followed, and suddenly we were off. Buses on the move…time to ride…time to sing again. It has never got- ten old—no, not once!

Leaving home is always hard though, and as we rolled through the early Tennessee evening I felt myself drifting off into a wonderful and much-needed sleep. I could still hear Mary’s voice echoing, “You guys are a phenomenon…a phenomenon…”

Her words made me realize there really is still a lot more to write about the Oak Ridge Boys.

on the road with the oak ridge boys

Author: Joe Bonsall


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