Strong, Stabile Oak's

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training Inc.


I have said it before that it amazes me the connections that have been afforded me across this country all because of chain saws. I have learned so much from the chain saw and the people who operate them.


Over the past few weeks the electronic world of communication, Twitter, has connected me with new friends. I have been a fan of Joe Bonsall and the Oak Ridge Boys since the middle 80's. My ORB contact, Joe Bonsall, began his career with the group in 1973. He is a man who enjoys working with a chain saw around his farm in Tennessee. He is an awesome tenor, a well-read author (his books are available from all the major outlets), and a performer with a greater purpose. When I learned that he uses a saw a good bit on his farm projects, I sent some things to keep Joe and his chainsaw in good shape. We have chatted back and forth on Twitter about his saw and his constant travel schedule on the bus.


Laura and I were able to catch up to the Oaks at their show in Wheeling, WV. We sent a Tweet and were able to meet Joe and had the opportunity to talk with him a while in the afternoon and then to attend the concert that night.  In our conversations we covered topics of chainsaws, pets (he loves cats more than Laura does cats and dogs I think) safety in our work and travels on the road, family, the group and how he and others in the Oaks have and are dealing with life. We discussed how the music industry has changed and a lot about other artists they had met and worked with. I started thinking during the conversations, there is a lot of similarity in the music business and the chain saw training business.

 Oak Ridge Boys - Wheeling, WV 2010

You see the Oak Ridge Boys have been performing for years since the 40’s. The current members came together with the latest addition of Joe Bonsall to the group in 1973. The group began as a Gospel Group and received a lot of flack for branching out to country music. They have kept their roots however firmly planted and stabile in their committed message. Like talking safety to people who don’t want to hear it, the Oaks have taken the Gospel portion of their heritage and performances to casinos, clubs, fair’s and places that most Gospel groups would never set foot into. They’ve made it big in country music but they haven’t severed their strong, stabile Oak’s roots of their history. 


Hits like Elvira, Thank God for Kids, Bobbie Sue, Trying to Love Two Women have given them the opportunity to go and share their wares at some of the largest music gatherings. They have performed for several of the U.S. Presidents and other country dignitaries too. They are even adding a few current music styles to their performances to keep the ear of the younger generation. Yes, Strong, Stabile Oak Roots and still lifting the branches up and out… The Oak Ridge Boys are the only 35-year plus country group out there that are just as interested in their peers and their ability to prosper to satisfy the music fans. Legendary!


During the show performance I was watching and now understanding, how the group had planned the event to the point ofperfection all for their audience. The group, including the musicians, from the moment the lights came up, was striving to get their emotions and message in song through to those watching and listening. They felt the needs and response of the audience with a couple songs and then began to make sure the audience was with them totally. Flawlessly they weaved the roots and grew the evening to a standing ovation. They accomplished their plan.


Those of you who know me are aware there are three things that mean a lot to me, yes, actually other than chainsaws. It is my relationship with God, my family, and music.  The Oak's maintain strength in all of those areas well. Thanks Joe and ORB for allowing me to step into your training world.


Twitter @OakRidgeBoys


Chain Saw Training sessions for storm work and clean up should contain the same desire for accomplishment and reaching the attendees.  Important is the information of equipment, tools and technique; also the attendees must feel the instructors desire and passion in the subject. Forest Applications Training is dedicated to the example.


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