The Oak Ridge Boys will return to Eldon this weekend with what has become an annual show at the Shawnee Bluff Vineyard.
The boys, who specialize in gospel, country and patriotic music, have had a string of hits and awards, including 12 gold, three platinum and one double platinum album, as well as one double platinum single, in their more than 40 years of performing and recording.
Bass singer Richard Sterban said people have begun to expect the Oak Ridge Boys to return to the Shawnee Bluff Vineyard every fall, and the band itself looks forward to trips to Missouri, which Sterban called a great state with great fans.
"It's good to be coming back," Sterban said. "The people treat us so well there's always a good crowd there. That always helps. When you walk on stage and people go crazy that makes it easy to perform. We always enjoy coming to the state of Missouri."
The Oak Ridge Boys are no strangers to Missouri, often performing at The Mansion in Branson. The group will be there next month to kick off its 30th Christmas tour. They also will have a new Christmas album coming out Oct. 25. Sterban said the boys have been singing Christmas songs for weeks already, getting ready to incorporate some of the new songs into their Christmas tour.
Performing at the Shawnee Bluff Vineyard with its outdoor venue and beautiful scenery is another bonus, Sterban said, noting it can be different from a lot of the other venues they typically play. The band travels to locations all over the country, and Sterban said they average about 150 days on the road each year. And that's not changing, even as they get older.
"Even though we're not kids any longer, we do not plan to retire," Sterban said. "We're still having fun doing it, and I think that's important."
He said they look forward to live performances, and the four band members are best friends who truly enjoy spending time together.
"We actually like each other," Sterban said. "I think that relationship that exists between the four of us is one of the things that keeps us going."
Sterban said the group always tries to record "meaningful music," the type of music that can help people and focuses on positive messages.
"It's helping some people get through some difficult times in their lives," Sterban said, noting social media allows them to really see the feedback from fans. "That's really one of our goals when we perform music and when we record music is to not only just make good music, but record music and songs that can help people."
For those going to see the Oak Ridge Boys on Friday, Sterban said they will hear the classic Oak Ridge Boys favorites, such as "Elvira," they expect to hear from the group.
"That is the law," Sterban said of playing the group's classic hit.
But they also include songs from newer albums, especially from their latest album "17th Avenue Revival" which was released last year. And they consider themselves patriotic men who will also sing some tunes along those lines, Sterban said.
"It's going to be a good night of good country music and really family entertainment — that's really what the Oak Ridge Boys are all about," Sterban said of the upcoming show.
One of the most unique aspects of the Oak Ridge Boys is its history. Though the current members joined in the 1960s and '70s, the group itself dates back to World War II, Sterban said.
"I don't think there's an act in the music business that brings more history with it on stage than the Oak Ridge Boys," Sterban said. "We feel an obligation to maintain that history and to carry the name on."
Gates for the show will open at 5 p.m. Friday, with music on the patio by Lake Collective. Food trucks and vendors will be on site, including Tilly's California Burritos & Tacos, Hart's Smokin' Sauce, The Butcher Shop and Kettle Corn Kids. The Oak Ridge Boys will go on at 8 p.m.
Tickets area available and range in price from $54-$99, depending on the area of seating. Children 5 or younger are admitted free, though if a child is going to need a seat, a ticket will need to be purchased. A parking fee is also charged at $5. For more information on the show, visit shawneebluff.com.