William Lee Golden is making up for lost time with his sons. The 84-year-old spent a lot of time on the road, and away from his family, due to The Oak Ridge Boys‘ constant touring, an unfortunate necessity due to the group’s overwhelming success.
“Being on the road 150 to 200 days a year, I was an absentee father 150 to 200 days a year,” Golden tells The News-Enterprise. “And it bothers you being away from home, but that was the only way to do what we loved to do,”
Not surprisingly, Golden has four talented sons, whom he gathered together when The Oak Ridge Boys were home during the pandemic, unaware — at least at first — that it was the beginnings of a new musical chapter for Golden and his family, as William Lee Golden and The Goldens.
“It was during the pandemic that I got my family all back together,” Golden recalls. “I had a vision to do that a couple of years prior to the pandemic and I couldn’t get everyone all together. They had their solo careers going on.”
Watching so much negativity on TV surrounding COVID-19 inspired the patriarch turn to music instead of the news.
“I had to turn it off and called the family to come over and get around the piano,” Golden remembers. “We got the instruments out and started singing old songs that inspired us through our lives.”
Their time together working on music resulted in Golden Classics , 34 songs divided into three different albums, showing off their close family harmony and shared talent.
“I’m proud of my kids,” Golden boasts. “Family harmony is inspiring to me and to hear their voices. We do about a two-hour show with 25 to 30 songs because we feature everybody; all my kids and grandkids get to sing.”
In addition to his shows with The Goldens, the Alabama native is also spending much of the next several months on saying goodbye to The Oak Ridge Boys’ fans, with their American Made: Farewell Tour, marking the end of an era that has spanned five decades.
“When you’re saying farewell, there’s a lot of people you want to say farewell to,” Golden told Billboard when the tour was announced. “It’s all the people that supported you along the way, the ones that called the radio stations, the ones that come and bought tickets to see us sing and sat in the rain with the rest of us while we were able to play and sing music.
“It’s a lot of emotions, because we as The Oak Ridge Boys are a family,” he added. “I mean, we spent more time through the years together as a family and we did our own families, basically.”