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A Q&A with Oaks' Manager — Jim Halsey
Photo by Matt Barnard / Tulsa World

Over the course of his almost 70-year career, Jim Halsey has represented nearly thirty members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. But you know him best as The Oak Ridge Boys' long time manager and “godfather.”

Jim, you’ve worked with the Oaks for over 40 years. Where were you when you first saw them perform and what did you think?

In 1973, at a record company showcase of their artists, the all-Gospel Oak Ridge Boys brought an electric excitement to an otherwise uneventful evening. I was totally knocked out, visited backstage, and wanted to see the reaction of a Country music audience. 

Early 1974, they had the opportunity to open a Country show in N. Tonawanda, NY. Their all-Gospel show had the audience yelling, screaming, and applauding, and they had several standing ovations. I knew that—with the right direction, expanding their repertoire, and the right team—they had it for superstardom.

In the parking lot after the show, we gathered in a circle, held hands, prayed and expressed gratitude to the Creator!!! I told them they were ‘three minutes away’ (a hit record) from being superstars. I wanted to help them find it! That started our successful path together.

What was your initial goal for them? Was there anything you asked them to do or change?

Being ‘seen and heard’ by the right industry execs, the expanded audiences, getting on radio and television, opening for major stars, finding the right record company and producer. It’s about building a good team.

You've directed the careers of a Who’s Who list of entertainers—many who are now in the Country Music Hall of Fame—booking them into major venues around the world and setting precedents along the way. Has there ever been a time when you felt you had done it all, that you had achieved everything you originally set out to achieve?

There are always new ideas, places to go where we haven’t been. The excitement of new horizons, new projects, new methods.

In light of the recent global pandemic, what do you see for the future of music and entertainment?

Change is creative. Opportunities, always!!! Painful sometimes. But keep dreaming your dreams. Keep following you dreams. I received this advice early in my life, 'If you stop following your dreams, you’ll stop having them.’

I’m still following mine. And it’s the same four guys still following their dreams... Oak Ridge Boys!!!

To watch a new PBS special on Jim Halsey, click the image below.

Enjoying the gift of today

Spending time with family and working on future projects

The blessings of family
William Lee Golden

This time with family has been a blessing. It has been the honeymoon that Simone and I never had time to take. I've sat around the grand piano with my son Rusty, who is back from overseas, and sung songs I hadn't sung in years. And, recently, my son Chris and I drove to West Tennessee to spend the day at a hat makers shop. You'll see my new hats onstage soon! 

Photo by Michael Jenkins

Birthday gratitude
Richard Sterban

I have been spending a lot of quality time with my family, watching old baseball games, and rewatching some of my favorite tv shows. I also celebrated my birthday and would like to thank everyone for all of the wishes last week. They really meant a lot, especially during this extraordinary time. I hope to be getting back on the bus and singing for you soon! God bless you all.

Finding new music
Duane Allen

When the lockdown eases, The Oak Ridge Boys will go into the studio to record a new album with Dave Cobb producing. I am listening to hundreds of songs, looking for—and finding—pieces of magic!!!! Every day I get dozens of pitches!!!

Enjoying nature
Joe Bonsall

I have helped Mary a bit in the garden at home, and I have been blessed to have this wonderful farm to go to. Lots of work to do out here as well, but God’s beauty surrounds me and I need that.

Are you hoping to see a concert in your area this year? Check out our current schedule by clicking here!

Looking for something to read?

Check out these two biographies by Joe Bonsall and Richard Sterban

Faith, family, and fans
On the Road with The Oak Ridge Boys

Featuring "on the road” stories from Joe Bonsall that span four decades and share laughter, insight, and heartfelt appreciation for faith, family, and fans.

From Gospel to country
From Elvis to Elvira

How does a kid from Camden, NJ grow up loving Gospel quartet music? How does he find himself touring the nation singing backup to Elvis Presley? And why would he decide to leave it all behind?

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Oak Ridge Boys Inc.

88 New Shackle Is. Rd., Hendersonville
TN 37075 United States

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