Country music icons The Oak Ridge Boys will be bringing their annual Christmas tour back to the Event Center at Mahnomen's Shooting Star Casino on Friday, Dec. 20. Tickets are nearly sold out for the 8 p.m. show.
Richard Sterban, the bass singer who has been part of the Grammy Award-winning vocal quartet since the mid-1970s, says that while this show is billed as their Christmas tour, fans will also be hearing plenty of their favorite Oak Ridge Boys songs. That includes everything from early hits like "Y'all Come Back Saloon" and the Billboard chart-topping "Elvira" to tunes from their most recent country album, 2018's "17th Avenue Revival," which he describes as "a marriage" between gospel music and old-time rockabilly and blues.
"Dave Cobb (the album's producer) is a master of taking old things and marrying them with new," Sterban told the Tribune during a recent interview. Cobb was also their producer on 2010's "The Boys Are Back," which gave the group a resurgence of popularity with the release of the titular single — written especially for them by Shooter Jennings — as well as a cover of the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army."
A couple of months ago, the Oak Ridge Boys — Sterban, Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall and William Lee Golden — released their eighth holiday album, "Down Home Christmas," which will also be showcased during the second half of their Dec. 20 concert.
"We've been rehearsing quite a bit to incorporate most of these new songs into our show," Sterban said. "You're going to hear a lot of traditional Christmas songs, of course, but we’re excited about some of these new songs too."
He added that their performance is "almost two shows for the price of one.
"By that I mean we come out in the beginning and do some of our regular music, and then we do a complete Christmas show," Sterban said. "We cover just about every aspect of Christmas ... the romantic side, the fun side, the family side, the spiritual side ...".
One of the group's favorite parts of the show, he added, is what has come to be known as the "rocking chair segment," where each member of the quartet sits down in a rocking chair and shares some of their favorite holiday memories, from childhood up until the present, interspersed with some traditional holiday carols.
"Over the years it has become a very popular part of our show," Sterban said, "and it gives the audience a chance to know the four Oak Ridge Boys a little bit better."
Another popular part of the show is when Santa comes to visit.
"We have a great Santa Claus who comes out on stage, and even goes out into the audience and interacts with the kids," Sterban said. "We encourage parents to bring their kids along — this is a great family show."
Toward the end of the evening, the quartet does a series of songs that focus on what Sterban calls "the true meaning of Christmas" — specifically, the birth of Jesus and what that meant to the world.
"A little bit of Jesus is not going to hurt anybody and it's a very important part of the show to us," he said, adding that they always try to end the evening "on a sacred note."
If you go
What: Christmas with the Oak Ridge Boys
When: 8 p.m Friday, Dec. 20
Where: Event Center, Shooting Star Casino, 770 Casino Road, Mahnomen
How much: Tickets start at $15, and can be purchased at 800-313-SHOW (7469), www.StarCasino.com/tickets, or via the “Buy Tickets” tab on Shooting Star’s Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/ShootingStarCasino.
More info: www.oakridgeboys.com