The Oak Ridge Boys and Jimmy Sturr at the Cape Coral Strawberry Fest

The Cape Coral Strawberry Fest is a unique event that takes place from February 29th to March 26th at the German American Club. It is a time when rock and country music were at their peak, and a strange phenomenon was taking place - the growing popularity of JIMMY STURR as the most popular musical attraction in the polka field. The four-part harmonies and cheerful songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have earned them Grammy, Dove, CMA and ACM awards and have garnered many other industry and fan awards. Every time they perform to the public, The Oaks bring four decades of chart hits and 50 years of tradition to a stage show widely recognized as one of the most exciting in the world. The group has achieved 12 gold, three platinum and one double platinum albums, in addition to a double platinum single, and has had more than a dozen number one singles nationwide and more than 30 top ten hits.

By the late '60s, with more than 30 members coming and going, they had a line-up that included Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, Noel Fox and Willie Wynn. Among the Oaks' many gospel acquaintances were Bonsall, a street boy from Philadelphia who embraced gospel music; and Sterban, who sang in quartets and had a job selling men's clothing. Both admired the distinctive and very popular Oaks. The four of them became friends, and when the Oaks needed a bass and a tenor in 1972 and 1973, respectively, Sterban and Bonsall received the calls. For a while, the group remained at the top of the gospel music circuit.

It was there that they refined the strengths that would soon turn them into a widespread attraction. Their gospel sound had a strong pop touch and, although it generated emotion and appeal to the public, it also baffled purists and left promoters unsure about the direction of the Oaks. Then, in 1975, the Oaks were asked to open several dates for Roy Clark. Clark's manager, Jim Halsey, was impressed by his skills. They produced one of the first country music videos.

In 1977, Easy, although not published in the United States,. They took part in the first American popular music tour as headliners in the USSR. The Oak Ridge Boys have appeared before five presidents. And they have become one of the most successful touring groups in the world, playing about 150 dates every year at major theaters, fairs and festivals in the United States. They demonstrated their business acumen in a variety of ways, including measures such as refusing the opportunity to sit on the couch during their numerous appearances on The Tonight Show.

The energetic Oaks show is still the heart and soul of what they do, and they refine it several times a year striving to keep it fresh for future audiences. The Oaks's new music attracted attention from younger audiences while reminding more dedicated fans that their favorite group is constantly evolving. Duane Allen, executive producer of the project adds: “We went to California in search of a rock and roll producer who would bring us back to our roots which is gospel mixed with country, blues and rock and roll”. Golden describes this new project as a “musical journey” while Sterban agrees that although their music may be different he didn't try to change them but challenged them. Many have described The Oak Ridge Boys' path as one similar to Johnny Cash's journey with producer Rick Rubin. The Oaks think this analogy is appropriate because Cash was one of their first supporters and long-time friend. Veteran Oaks producer Ron Chancey returned to the studio with them to produce Elvira and two new songs while Duane Allen and Michael Sykes produced nine more tracks for their album which debuted on September 19th after being included in Grand Ole Opry. A native of Mobile Alabama Hayes' humble Southern roots are revealed in “Face in The Crowd” which continues to share stories that millions can identify with leading Washington Post to write: “Hayes has broken into mainstream by sounding different”.After many years pursuing his dream Hayes achieved success singing about family faith and real life becoming an unexpected TikTok country music star with his videos being viewed hundreds of millions of times connecting with audiences from all genres. He has performed his music including RIAA certified double platinum hit “You Broke Up With Me” from his debut album Boom for national audiences on Good Morning America CBS Sunday Morning Late Night with Seth Meyers The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The TODAY Show. This fall Hayes embarked on his main stadium tour The Glad You're Here Tour which bears same name as book he wrote with his best friend Craig Allen Cooper detailing his journey to find Christ playing for more than 5000 people each night. With new music and tour next year Hayes is ready for his best year yet.

Scott Smithson
Scott Smithson

Burrito lover. Professional beer fan. General food junkie. Avid bacon fan. Avid music expert. Evil food aficionado.