Richard Sterban, bass singer for The Oak Ridge Boys, said that after four decades of touring he couldn’t remember if his band had played in Carson Valley before.
“After 41 years there are not too many places we haven’t been,” Sterban said.
The country music quartet performs 7 p.m. May 15 at the Carson Valley Inn.
Nevada is not new turf for The Oak Ridge Boys. Over their 41 years in the music business, they have played in Reno, Sparks, Stateline and recorded their first live concert album at the Riverside Resort Hotel and Casino in Laughlin and released it this year.
“I know we have a lot of friends in Nevada and we are looking forward to playing there again,” he said.
The legendary country band has won numerous Grammy, Academy of Country Music and American Music awards. They will play their big hits like “Elvira” but the set list is still a surprise, Sterban said.
“We pride ourselves on never doing the same show twice,” he said. “Folks are going to hear songs that they expect to hear from The Oak Ridge Boys. We’ll throw in some gospel songs and some of our patriotic songs that promote the troops.”
“I think that’s what people want to hear,” Sterban said. “The classics.”
The songs remain the same but with a more contemporary feel.
“The songs sound the way we sing now,” he said. “We didn’t really change anything, but they’re a little more exciting.”
The bass singer who chants “Giddy up a Oom Poppa Oom Poppa Mow Mow” in “Elvira’s” famous chorus said retirement is not in the near future for the band.
“A lot of our contemporaries have retired,” he said. “As long as we’re having fun doing this then why should we retire?”
He credits good health as the key to a long career. That, and some good advice from another country music legend—Johnny Cash.
“He would put us on his shows and pay us more money than we were worth, but what really helped us were his words of encouragement,” Sterban said. “We went into his office one day with our heads hanging real low and he said there was something special about us if we could find a way to make it bigger.”
Sterban said that they walked out of his office with their heads a little higher that day and told themselves, “If Johnny Cash thinks that we are going to make it, then we are going to make it.”
The band classifies itself as a family show, and with four decades of making country and gospel music, they now play to multi-generational audiences.
“Our fans have grown with us, but now they bring their kids and their grandkids,” Sterban said.
Tickets start at $30. For ticket information, call 783-7766.