The Oak Ridge Boys Persevered Through a Painful Pandemic and Were Led to ‘Front Porch Singin”
It was August of 2020, and the Oak Ridge Boys had seen enough. No longer were the four men going to sit and stress over the horrifying headlines about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead, they were going to come together — they were going to sing again.
Like they had so many times before, the Oak Ridge Boys were going to sing songs of faith — songs they hoped would help people get through the unrelenting pain of it all. On the surface, it seemed as if the Country Music Hall of Fame members created their forthcoming new album for their fans. That's true, but first, they say they did it for themselves.
"The music we are making has a healing effect, and we were the first ones to feel that healing effect in our own lives,” reflects the Oak Ridge Boys' William Lee Golden during a recent interview with Taste of Country. The group's new Front Porch Singin' album is set for release on June 11.
"Faith is what holds everything together, and we were recording this album when that spiritual side of all of us had been shut off when they closed the churches. So, in a way, we were all looking for some healing and comfort," Golden says.
Those feelings shine bright on the inspirational tracks that make up Front Porch Singin’. Returning to the studio with Grammy-award winning producer Dave Cobb, the Oak Ridge Boys admit that they found a refuge within the sound booth during some of the darkest days of the shutdown.
As the world cautiously crawls out of a pandemic-induced cloud, album cuts like "Swing Down Chariot,” “Love, Light and Healing” and “Life Is Beautiful" seem custom-made to rock us back to life through country music.
“Someone sent me a text to check out this song from Keb' Mo'," the Oaks' Duane Allen recalls of the day he discovered the uplifting song "Life Is Beautiful." "I went on the internet and found a video and sat back in my chair and I was hypnotized. The words hit me really hard. That last phrase of the chorus kept ringing in my ear, that somewhere in the world, the sun is shining bright."
"We almost inadvertently recorded the perfect album for the times we are living in," Joe Bonsall adds. "The response that is coming back to us while we are all starting to see some lights at the end of the tunnel has just been incredible."
And if anyone believes that a higher power is responsible for all of this inspiration, it is the Oaks.
"These songs are connecting on a level that is telling us that people need to hear songs like this," Bonsall insists. "We are just the vessel. But maybe, as the sun starts to shine and things start to open up ... hopefully, we can all be a little kinder to one another, maybe just maybe, this music can make a difference."