“And we hugged his neck, and he said, ‘See, fellas, I told you so,’” Sterban recalled.
The Oak Ridge Boys also benefited from the mentorship of Jimmy Dean. Sterban said another big influence was Kenny Rogers, with whom the group maintains a friendship to this day. From Rogers the Oak Ridge Boys learned the importance of a hit song. Sterban said Rogers also taught them to be on time and professional in every circumstance.
In a professional capacity, the Oak Ridge Boys continue to carry on. Gospel music is part of the group’s musical DNA, and the Oaks plan to head into the studio in mid-August to work on a gospel album. The group also recently released “Boys Night Out,” the four singers’ first-ever live album.
“It’s something I think our fans have been asking for for quite some time,” Sterban said.
Sterban also talked about the Oaks’ willingness to try something new. Case in point: The group’s 2009 cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”
“There’s nothing that we have recorded in recent years that’s gotten us more attention than that one song,” he said.
“Army,” in Sterban’s view, is a great example of the Oak Ridge Boys going into the recording studio and reinventing themselves a bit.
“We still stay true to ourselves, but we just travel down some roads musically differently, in a different way,” he said.
The intent on that cover was to stay true to the Oak Ridge Boys as a vocal group. Sterban said many of the instrumental components in “Seven Nation Army” were done with voices. Sterban himself vocalized the riff.
“It made for an interesting sound,” he said of the Oaks’ “Army.” “It still sounded like ‘Seven Nation Army,’ but it also still sounded like the Oak Ridge Boys.”