Mighty Oaks show granddads can still entertain

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This weekend I experienced a first: my first actual visit to Hank Williams Park in Georgiana for the city's annual Hank Williams Festival.

While I went down to the clubhouse a couple of years ago to cover the Thursday jam session for the paper, I had never milled around with the thousands that descend on this little Butler County town every year.

I have to confess, country music has never been my favorite genre. I grew up listening to the music my older sisters loved, the music played on Montgomery's "Big Bam": the Beatles, the Buckinghams, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Steppenwolf, and other shaggy-haired rock groups of the '60s and '70s.

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But I do like the music of Hank Williams - you can't argue with a classic –

and I have also been a fan of this year's headliners, the Oak Ridge Boys, for a long time.

It's been a good 25 years since I saw them in concert at Troy State. Of course, time brings changes to all of us.

William's "mountain man" hair has grown even longer and is snow white these days; he's a granddad now. Duane's waistline has expanded, and Joe's curls have been cropped off; his temples have turned gray.

Richard's hair is still amazingly dark - only his hairdresser knows for sure, I guess - and he's grown a goatee and moustache that give him a rakish "Zorro" look.

Let me tell you, when these middle-aged guys took the stage on Saturday night, they more than proved they've still got what it takes.

"They still sound the same," I told my husband as I bobbed my head along to one of their upbeat tunes sung in that trademark four-part harmony.

Joe, the spokesman for the group, was all over the stage with his typical manic antics. Oh, to have his energy!

Richard sang my personal Oak Ridge Boys favorite (and his), "Dream On."

I admit my heart did a little pitter-pat when the handsome bass started crooning this lovely song.

When William knelt down, lifting his white cowboy hat in the air while singing "Thank God for Kids," he added, "Thank God for grandkids, too," and embraced his own little granddaughter from his hometown down the road, Brewton.

It was a nice touch from an act that has always been family-friendly.

The group also gave a wonderful "shout out" to my first cousin, Rock Killough, who, as Joe said, has written a bunch of songs for the mighty Oaks. William performed Rock's poignant song, "Homestretch" during the concert.

Yep, it was an energetic, entertaining, enjoyable hour and a half spent with Joe, Duane, William and Richard - not to mention our own talented Starla Jones, Jett Williams, Brad Magness and all the others who took the stage before I arrived.

If I got in anybody's way while taking photos Saturday night, I apologize. You have to remember, I get paid to cover events like this. (Lucky me!)

Contact Angie Long at 383-9302, ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate. com.