The Oak Ridge Boys took their name from a small Tennessee town best known as a base for the Manhattan Project. What started as a gospel quartet evolved into a Grammy award-winning pop country sensation that rode the pop culture wave of southern accents that briefly dominated the terrestrial radio waves in the 1970s. Listen to Bobbie Sue, a disco-influenced honky-tonk romp complete with a vocal riff from baritone and embodiment of the mountain man aesthetic William Lee Golden. Its bizarre to think that this music that once capture the attention of a nation would have virtually no shot at a number one spot on the Billboard country singles charts, let alone the pop charts, in 2010. The biggest chance at gaining popularity now would be on the backs of irony-seeking 20-somethings. Take, for instance, the unabashed love of facial hair, from waist-length beards to bushy staches, that the Oak Ridge Boys have, or the fact that they covered Seven Nation Army on their latest record, 2009s The Boys Are Back. The relative success of that record says youve got a near perfect recipe for a hipster-based country gospel resurgence. The thing about those irony seekers is that, deep down they actually like whatever supposedly unhip hilarity theyre tweeting about this week. And thats the thing: No matter how many goofy cracks can be made about The Oak Ridge Boys, ultimately theyre a band that recorded with Johnny Cash, and counted the Eagles, Alabama and Charlie Daniels as peers. Theyve produced a catalog worth a listen, all irony aside.
Mon., Feb. 22, 4 & 7 p.m., 2010