William Lee Golden and The Goldens Release Three-Album Set

William Lee Golden and The Goldens Release Three-Album Set
William Lee Golden and the Goldens

While many people were trying to figure out what to do with the time they suddenly discovered they had when the pandemic hit, William Lee Golden had just the opposite problem. He found himself recording an album with The Oak Ridge Boys, Front Porch Singin’; writing his biography, Behind The Beard with Scott England; and recording not one but three albums with his children and grandchildren as William Lee Golden and The Goldens — Country Roads: Vintage Country Classics, Old Country Church Gospel and Southern Accents: Pop & Country Rock. All three albums release today (March 25). Sounds Like Nashville also premiers one of the songs today from the Old Country Church Gospel album, the Hank Williams standard “I Saw The Light.”

“I had a vision about the albums about three years ago,” Golden explains. “It’s been one of the most fun uplifting and healing processes. So this week we are releasing all three of our albums we did in 2020. We went back to songs that we could draw strength from — classic songs. The heroes throughout the recording were the songwriters who gave us these songs.”

“In the beginning I would go over and visit and talk over pre-production and we would get around the piano and sing. Then we moved from that into the Isaac’s studio right at the end of the road here. We just kept singing old songs, those old country songs I played when I was seven years old. My sister was a great musician, she played mandolin and she taught me rhythm guitar. When we were kids we played in churches in South Alabama, at the school house — we would go sing at the drop of a hat, so that‘s where it all started.”

The Brewton, Alabama native had the vision of doing all old songs, no new ones. “We found healing – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually — so it was a healing process for all of us. It was focused on the things and people that are essential to us. The essential people in life are the songwriters … we did Paul McCartney, Bob Seger, Tom Petty, Hank Williams, Kris Kristofferson. There are three generations of this family on these albums that got together during the pandemic to record songs that have been meaningful to us from childhood.”

Golden remembers learning to play “I Saw The Light” with his mother and sister as a boy. “I was seven years old when my sister and mother taught me to play and sing with them. So I was singing harmony parts and they taught me how to play rhythm guitar and Sis played mandolin. She was the talented one and I was the wannabe … so anyhow we played these old songs when we were kids. Roy Acuff’s “Great Speckled Bird,” Louvin Brothers songs.  Hank Williams’ “I Saw The Light,” I started singing that when I was seven years old. We would sing it as the last song on the show, and that song was a staple in our shows when I was a boy. We sang that everywhere we went. When we recorded it, it took me back to what started it all.”

One of the first songs they recorded was the Hank Locklin classic, “Send Me The Pillow You Dream On.” Golden heard it a little differently from the way Locklin did it. “I could just hear the harmonies,” he explains. “We started with the chorus and did harmonies on it, then went into the verses.”

That wasn’t the first song they changed to fit the harmonies of the three-generation group of singers. When recording “Me and Bobby McGee,” they made a change at the end of it. “You know at the end where it goes Lalalalala?” Golden queries. “Well the second phase of that, instead of the lala’s, we yodeled that melody in harmony. Just a little different but it worked for us.”

Golden says he feels that these three recordings and the videos that were shot while they recorded will ultimately be his greatest legacy in music. “I’m bearing my heart and soul here,” he confesses. “I spent a lot of years singing baritone harmony with the Oak Ridge Boys, since 1965, and I took an active role to help get us where we should be and keep us moving forward. 

“With this project I was able to fulfill a vision I had two years before it ever started. It took me two years to get the songs together; there were old songs I wanted to do and I wanted my kids and grandkids to do with me and harmonize together. There were songs they picked to do. This gave me an opportunity during the pandemic to get inside myself, get away from hate and violence. So I went back to the things that I felt like were a tapestry of my life, songs that I’ve been impressed with, songs that touched me at the time because of what was going on in my life. I wanted to keep songs alive that are essential in my life. If everything is new the great classics can fade away, and if someone doesn’t keep them alive they are forgotten. So I felt like singing them for my own healing power, the feelings you have and capture musically. I can feel the feelings that were in that room, positive creative feelings of energy that were coming out.

“We were all dealing with the pandemic outside the studio, but we didn’t allow it to stop us or shut us down. We’d already been shut down and you had to go on past it. I’ve never felt so driven to do something.  These three albums will be, when it’s all done, they have my projection to be the greatest legacy of all the recordings through my life. The feelings that were in the studio, we captured them and that is what is so special. There was a lot of happiness and good times while we were recording.”

Southern Accents, Country Roads and Old Country Church were recorded by Golden and his sons Rusty, Craig, and Chris; his grandchildren Elizabeth, Rebekah, and Elijah; and friends Aaron McCune and Ben Isaacs joined to bring their fresh interpretations to longtime favorites. Michael Sykes and Buddy Cannon produced the albums. Among the songs chosen by William Lee Golden and The Goldens to record for the albums are Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone” Jim Reeves’ “Four Walls,” Tom Petty’s “Southern Accent,” Bob Seger’s “Hollywood Nights” Gregg Allman’s “Multi-Colored Lady.” They put their own interpretation on the Oak Ridge Boys’ songs “Bobbie Sue” and “Elvira.” Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me Lord” is there beside classics including “Power in the Blood” and “Softly and Tenderly.”

Country Roads
1. I Still Miss Someone
2. Four Walls
3. Welcome To My World
4. Take Me Home Country Roads
5. You Are My Sunshine
6. The Great Speckled Bird
7. Green Green Grass Of Home
8. Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On
9. For The Good Times
10. I Saw The Light

Southern Accents
1. Take It Easy
2. Me And Bobby McGee
3. The Long And Winding Road
4. Stand By Me
5. Jambalaya
6. Peaceful Easy Feeling
7. Long Black Veil
8. Southern Accents
9. Elvira
10. Multi-colored Lady
11. Bobbie Sue
12. Hollywood Nights

Old Country Church
1. Come And Dine
2. Old Country Church
3. It’s Suppertime
4. If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
5. Until Then
6. Why Me, Lord?
7. I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
8. Too Much To Gain
9. Sheltered
10. Softly And Tenderly
11. Love Lifted Me
12. Power In The Blood