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CBN.com Theirs is one of the most distinct sounds in country music, the four part harmony of the Oak Ridge Boys.
The Oak Ridge Boys have earned nearly 100 awards over 15 years including six Grammy Awards. 700 Club Reporter Mia Evans spent the day with baritone William Lee Golden to learn about his life and a tragic event that he and his family overcame.
“The Oak Ridge Boys are my friends,” William says. “We live in the same community here. We travel on the same bus together, and we sing in harmony together. And the Oak Ridge Boys live in harmony together. That is the key to success. Love what you are doing, but love and respect one another and their contribution to the group.”
All of them give God the credit for their success.
“It’s His blessings that have guided us, protected us, and kept us safe as a group,” Golden says. “And we still sing Gospel songs on every show that we do. We do a segment that honors our heritage and where we’ve come from, because that’s the music that touches are hearts.”
William is nicknamed “mountain man.” He and his wife, Brenda, have a 5-year-old son, Solomon. Brenda and William live in a historical home built 200 years ago during the Revolutionary War. It then served as a confederate camp during the Civil War. William bought the plantation pledging to be a good caretaker for a home that had made its mark in American history. Little did he know his promise would be tested.
On a spring morning they got a call from Brenda’s brother who was tracking a tornado from a weather center. William, Brenda, and Solomon were driving up the driveway.
“He called me on my mobile and said ‘Brenda are you all in the basement?’ And I said, ‘No, why?’ Brenda recalls. “He said, ‘I’m tracking this tornado, and it’s been through Nashville and Hendersonville. It’s heading right for your home. Get home and get in the basement.’”
The Goldens emerged from the basement to find that their house was totally devastated. But the family had been kept safe.
“I explained to Solomon, ‘God has just shown us his awesome power and his tender-loving mercy,” Willam says. “’You are much more important than any of this, and you don’t have a scratch on you, so God has blessed us.’”
“William said, ‘This doesn’t just happen, Brenda. It happens for a reason,’ Brenda says. “We prayed and gave thanks to God for His mercy. And we asked Him to walk us through this because we had never had been through anything like this in our whole life. We prayed God would walk us through this.”
The Goldens went to work restoring the beautiful historic home to its original grandeur. A year later, the job was complete.
“This is the master bedroom, and it was totally destroyed, ” William says. "The top was blown off. Everything inside was mangled.”
The guest room was in the same condition.
“The roof was destroyed. The room was destroyed. The windows were blown out. Everything was a total disarray,” he says.
No one was more relieved to be back in their home than Solomon.
“He wanted his room exactly the way it was with the same wallpaper and everything,” Brenda says. “It’s like a little hide-away.”
Life is back to normal for the Goldens. At least it is as normal as it can get with 64 shows in 33 cities in five months. But the Goldens are grateful to God for the Oak Ridge Boys’ success and grateful that He brought them through their ordeal.
“Going through a situation like this we’ve grown spiritually,” William says. “We’ve grown together as a family, and we’ve grown closer to God. There is no way to describe His awesome power, but it is very real around us. This has allowed us to open up our eyes to see Him in ways that we might not have seen Him before. We depend on Him more than we did before the storm.”
“We’ve got so much to be thankful for,” Brenda says.
Her husband agrees. “When there are storms of life raging around us, God will stand by us.”
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