By BECKY LOSEY Special to the Courier
---- — OTTUMWA — When you’ve been on the road touring the world for more than 40 years, you are bound to accrue a few interesting memories. William Lee Golden, baritone singer in The Oak Ridge Boys, remembers a cultural exchange he had in the early days with the country group.
“Back when we were a struggling group, a year before we had a big county single, we had the opportunity to do a tour of the Soviet Union. It was in the dead of winter. It was cold,” said Golden.
The Oak Ridge Boys performed in one of the first American music tours in the former Soviet Union.
“Every arena we played was packed out, and we would get stomping, standing ovations. Traveling in Europe with The Oak Ridge Boys, there were a lot of wonderful memories, removing ourselves from our familiar environment, having new adventures and taking our music new places,” Golden said.
He said despite travelling across many borders and cultures, the music of The Oak Ridge Boys was always able to break through and connect with the fans.
“Our harmonies, our melodies and our presentation went beyond those language barriers,” he added.
Golden is well known for his “Mountain Man” persona and his long white beard, but some fans of The Oaks may not be as familiar with Golden’s foray into the fine arts.
“I’ve gotten into digital photography when I’m travelling with my wife and son, and I do painting when I’m on the road touring,” said Golden
Nature landscapes and seascapes are Golden’s favorite subjects to photograph and paint. His artwork and photography will travel to the Pensacola Museum of Art this summer, but that won’t be the first time his artwork has been on the road.
“I do all my paintings on the road with the Oak Ridge Boys, so each piece of art has been on tour as it’s been created,” said Golden “It makes the days go so fast.”
The Oak Ridge Boys will perform their catalog of hits and newer material at 7 p.m. April 21 at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa. Tickets are available online, at the box office or by phone at 800-745-3000.