The Oaks have been on the road celebrating their new album, "17th Avenue Revival" with the "Shine the Light" tour in various cities but there's always a special feeling when they come home to Myrtle Beach. This visit was no different than previous visits with the exception of one thing, a feeling of a personal change that seemed to fill the room, not just in the audience but in the Boys as well. I credit this to the release of their highly acclaimed new album, "17th Avenue Revival", a collection of "back to the basics" southern gospel with a touch of contagious inspiration that comes at a time that it's most needed. This album has given this already amazing group an elevated level of deserved confidence and an obvious pep in their step. Their energy has always been hard to match but this time they even outdid themselves. It's a new attitude and you can definitely feel it from the minute they take the stage to the minute the doors to the auditorium close behind you as you leave.
The venue filled with excitement long before the show began with anxious fans standing around outside the ticket window talking about their favorite ORB moments and what they couldn't wait to see and hear once the show began. The fun thing that makes the ORB fan base stand out from others is the longevity and depth of the dedication of the crowd. They can tell you every show they've been to, every song that's ever been sung, and every memory that's left an imprint in their hearts. They've traveled from all states and various countries and are from all walks of life, but for 2 hours, they're a family and that's what's great an Oaks show.
The lights dimmed, the Mighty Oaks Band took their places and the familiar booming introduction "Ladies and gentlemen, the legendary Oak Ridge Boys"came over the speakers and the Boys came out to thunderous and appreciative applause. For the next couple of hours, fans were treated to stories as only Joe Bonsall can tell them, laughter and almost 2 hours of hits and new favorites. The new album produced 2 new favorites that won this audience over. The first, "Brand New Star", a song written by Nashville writers Aaron Patiere and Mando Saenz as a way to celebrate the life of someone lost and the other was "Pray to Jesus", written by hit songwriters Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, an anthem of the working class average family doing what they have to do to just get by that we all can identify with. These songs put the revival in this auditorium with people on their feet, smiling, clapping and singing along. Of course they did the hits too like "Everyday", "American Made", "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight", "Y'all Come Back Saloon" and of course "Elvira"and "Bobbie Sue", but the new music really seemed to hit home. There was a couple sitting behind me during "I'd Rather Have Jesus" and the woman was wiping tears from her eyes as he put his arm around her and pulled her in close. It's these moments that remind you how blessed we are and it's artists like the Oaks who are the reminders.
The "Shine the Light' tour continues through the year. Be sure to catch a show in your area and find your feeling of change. Go to www.oakridgeboys.com for tour dates and locations.
Follow Jenn on Twitter at @Lovinlyrics
Photo credits: Jennifer Smith / Lovinlyrics