Joe Bonsall Bids Farewell to The Oak Ridge Boys After Five Decades on the Road

His replacement has been revealed.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

January 3, 2024

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Joe Bonsall poses for a photo.

Following a 50-year run as the tenor singer for The Oak Ridge Boys, Joe Bonsall has officially announced his plans to retire from touring. 

Bonsall shared a statement on social media, detailing his decision to step away from the touring circuit and elaborating on the health condition that led him to take a step back. 

Why Is Joe Bonsall Retiring From Touring?

“Many of you know I have been battling a slow onset (over four years now) of a neuromuscular disorder. I am now at a point where walking is impossible, so I have basically retired from the road,” he states. 

The Oak Ridge Boys; Photo by Photo by Brandon Wood
The Oak Ridge Boys; Photo by Photo by Brandon Wood

The singer truthfully admitted that touring has “gotten too difficult.” He later reflected on his five-decade run as part of the award-winning group. 

“It has been a great 50 years, and I am thankful to all the Oak Ridge Boys, band, crew, and staff for the constant love and support shown to me through it all. I will never forget, and for those of you who have been constantly holding me up in prayer, I thank you and ask for you to keep on praying,” he shared. 

Who Is Replacing Joe Bonsall?

In Bonsall’s absence, the singer will be replaced by Ben James (Doyle Lawson, Dailey & Vincent) for the remainder of The Oak Ridge Boys’ farewell tour. 

“There is a young man named Ben James singing for me out there, and he needs your love and encouragement … his sound is different than mine, but he brings a ton of talent to the table,” Bonsall enthusiastically said. “The Oak Ridge Boys will finish the Farewell Tour without me, but rest assured, I am good with all of it! God’s Got It!!!”

The Oak Ridge Boys perform with with Ben James
The Oak Ridge Boys with Ben James; Photo by Photo by Jon Mir

Meet Ben James

Ben James was welcomed to the stage on Saturday, December 30 during The Oak Ridge Boys concert in Greenville, Mississippi. He joined Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban on stage at Harlow’s Casino Resort, filling in for the tenor singer.  

Ben James became acquainted with The Oak Ridge Boys in 2022 when he was introduced to them during a concert in Wheeling, West Virginia, where Daily & Vincent were also part of the lineup.

“Joe handed me the mic and said, ‘You’ve got the next verse,’ James recalled in a statement. “And I’m not sure I will ever get over that moment. ‘Elvira’ was always on repeat when I was growing up. It’s still one of those timeless songs that never grow old.”

The Oak Ridge Boys; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
The Oak Ridge Boys; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

A Farewell Tour For The Fans

The Oak Ridge Boys American Made Farewell Tour comes in honor of the GRAMMY Award-winning and Country Music Hall of Fame members’ 50th anniversary as a band

“We are doing a farewell tour because we owe it to our fans to say goodbye,” William Lee Golden previously stated. “They have always been there for us through the good times and the bad. I will always be thankful to every person who came out to a show, bought a t-shirt, played our music, and overall, loved us enough to spend their hard-earned money whenever they could. This tour is for you!”

“I want to thank God for 50 years of singing with three of my best friends and for the fans who have been there for us,” Richard Sterban added. “This is a celebration and we hope to see you there.”

They expect to re-enter the studio alongside Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb in late January, marking their fifth collaboration with the renowned producer.

The Oak Ridge Boys Farewell Tour Logo
The Oak Ridge Boys Farewell Tour

The Oak Ridge Boys American Made Farewell Tour

Sat, JAN 20 The Grand 1894 Opera House Galveston, Texas

Sun, JAN 21 The Grand 1894 Opera House Galveston, Texas

Fri, FEB 02 Boot Barn Hall (Gainesville) Gainesville, Ga.

Sun, FEB 04 Family Gras Mardi Gras Plaza Metairie, La.

Sun, FEB 11 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo San Antonio, Texas

Thu, FEB 29 Florida Strawberry Festival 2024 Plant City, Fla.

Fri, Mar 01 The Alliance Center Burlington, N.C.

Sat, MAR 02 Montgomery Performing Arts Centre Montgomery, Ala.

Sun, MAR 03 Norton Auditorium University of North Alabama Florence, Ala.

Fri, MAR 15 Foxwoods Resort Casino Ledyard, Conn.

Sat, MAR 16 American Music Theatre Lancaster, Pa.

Sun, MAR 17 American Music Theatre Lancaster, Pa.

Sat, MAR 23 Sugar Creek Casino Hinton, Okla.

Thu, APR 04 Oxford Performing Arts Center Oxford, Ala.

Fri, APR 05 City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium Morganton, N.C.

Sat, APR 06 Alabama Theatre North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Wed, APR 10 Clay County Agricultural Fair Green Cove Springs, Fla.

Sat, APR 13 George H Henderson Jr. Exposition Center Lufkin, Texas

Sat, APR 27 Paramount Arts Center Ashland, Ky.

Fri, MAY 17 Peoples Bank Theatre Marietta, Ohio

Sat, MAY 18 The Oak Ridge Boys American Made Farewell Tour Defiance, Ohio

Fri, JUN 07 Hartville Kitchen Hartville, Ohio

Sat, JUN 08 Hartville Kitchen Hartville, Ohio

Wed, JUN 26 Blue Gate Performing Arts Center Shipshewana, Ind.

Thu, JUN 27 Blue Gate Performing Arts Center Shipshewana, Ind.

Fri, JUN 28 Meramec Music Theatre Steelville, Mo.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.