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Conservative Oak Ridge Boys Band Member Leaves Tour As He Fights Neuromuscular Disorder

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The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

As the Oak Ridge Boys continue on their Farewell Tour, one of the country group’s members is retiring as he battles a neuromuscular disorder.

Joe Bonsall, who sings tenor for the group, is originally from Philadelphia but currently lives in Nashville.

Bonsall posted the announcement to X on Wednesday

“Many of you know I have been battling a slow onset (over 4 years now) of a neuromuscular disorder. I am now to a point that walking is impossible so I have basically retired from the road. 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. 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! The @oakridgeboys will finish the Farewell Tour without me but rest assured I am good with all of it! God’s Got It!!!”

According to the band’s website, 75-year-old Bonsall began singing around the age of 4. When he was in his mid-teens, he developed a love for Southern Gospel music harmony. In 1973, he joined the Oak Ridge Boys and has been the group’s primary spokesperson on stage. He has also written several books, including biographies and children’s books.

Bonsall states that he will not be able to complete the remainder of the Oak Ridge Boys’ Farewell Tour.

He will be replaced by 27-year-old singer and songwriter Ben James.

The Oak Ridge Boys met James in 2022 during a concert in Wheeling, West Virginia. 

“Joe handed me the mic and said, ‘You’ve got the next verse,’ James said. “And I’m not sure I will ever get over that moment. ‘Elvira’ was always on repeat when I was growing up. It’s still one of those timeless songs that never grow old.”

Bonsall and his wife Mary founded the Joseph S. and Mary Ann Bonsall Foundation in an effort to help bring about improvement in literacy and animal causes.

Bonsall met with The Tennessee Conservative’s founder Brandon Lewis back in 2021 to discuss his musical journey and his desire to see conservative values return. 

“Good conservative values are something we need so badly…it’s time to really move on and start getting our country back on track again,” Bonsall said in that interview.

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