Joe Bonsall just shared a sweet memory of how his fellow The Oak Ridge Boys‘ bandmate, Duane Allen, helped him while they were on tour last year. Bonsall, who recently retired from life on the road amid health challenges, recalled how Allen came to his immediate assistance when needed, and without being asked.
“One year ago today I was at a hotel in Galveston trying to make it down an incline to get to the tour bus. I was on a cane at the time but my legs froze on the hill and I couldn’t move,” Bonsall shared on social media. “Duane Allen came flying out of the bus to help me … one just does not forget things like that! My heart is with him and the BOYS today!!”
One year ago today I was at a hotel in Galveston trying to make it down an incline to get to the tour bus. I was on a cane at the time but my legs froze on the hill and I couldn’t move … Duane Allen came flying out of the bus to help me … one just does not forget things like… pic.twitter.com/i7RwC1COFx
— Joe Bonsall (@joebonsall) January 21, 2024
The Oak Ridge Boys are continuing on their American Made: Farewell Tour, with Ben James replacing Bonsall for the remaining dates. The decision to not continue the tour with The Oak Ridge Boys was a difficult but necessary one for Bonsall, whose mobility continues to be affected by the disorder.
“I am now at a point where walking is impossible, so I have basically retired from the road,” Bonsall said when announcing the disappointing news. “It has just gotten too difficult. 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.”
Bonsall also encouraged fans to support James, who will perform Bonsall’s part for the remaining dates on 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 urged. “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, together in their current formation for 50 years, admitted the farewell tour was bittersweet for each of them.
“We’ve worked nearly 150 dates a year almost every year,” Bonsall told Billboard when the tour was announced. “We’ve never booked tours like a lot of groups do — making an album and doing maybe 50 or 60 days to support it. We may tour under a different tour name every year, but it’s really the never-ending tour. We’ve never known how to stop or slow down, for sure. So what we have put a concentrated effort in our thought pattern here in the last year or so into how can we slow it down some, but still keep moving forward.”
Bonsall, also an established author is reportedly working on a new book. Find all of The Oak Ridge Boys’ music and remaining shows at OakRidgeBoys.com.