Goldens set to rededicate house

Published 12:24 pm Monday, April 2, 2007

By By Lydia Grimes – features writer
A year ago William Lee Golden and his family narrowly escaped injury when a deadly tornado ripped through their Tennessee home.
But this Saturday the family will rejoice at their good fortune as they re-dedicate their renovated home and celebrate those who helped them rebuild.
Golden, a Brewton native, is best known for being one of the famous Oak Ridge Boys, a singing group that has been around since the 1960s.
He, his wife Brenda, and their son, Solomon, were returning to their home near Hendersonville outside of Nashville, Tenn., when the tornado came that day.
His brother-in-law had the equipment to be able to watch the path of the storm. He then called and said there was a tornado very near the Golden property. The family arrived home just before the power went out and the wind started to get really bad. The family took shelter in the basement, but there were windows there and they began to shatter. They then moved to an inside room and then into a bathroom.
The house was very badly damaged, but it had been built to withstand a lot of weather, Golden said. It was built in 1786 by Captain James Franklin, who served with George Washington. The walls were made of 16-inch thick brick walls and it was built to last.
Despite the damage, the Goldens had some things to be thankful for.
The house is recognized as a historical home and it had been remodeled in the 1890s. Golden said the family was able to restore it to the original beauty.
Golden spends around 162 days on the road with the Oak Ridge Boys, and he gives credit to his wife, Brenda, for overseeing the job of restoring the damaged home.
Golden grew up on Alabama Highway 41 near Dixonville. He said his sister, Lanette, taught him to sing harmony, and they used to perform on WEBJ. He also sang with the FFA at W.S. Neal High School and competed in an area contest with fellow singers, O'Neal Dawson, Randall Morris and Gladen Graves. They won the competition and were supposed to advance to the state level. But Gladen Graves' family took him to California and he missed the competition.
After high school he continued to play and sing on the weekends while he worked at what is now Smurfit-Stone Corporation. Golden first met the Oak Ridge Boys at an all-night gospel singing along with the Dixie Echoes. He talked to the Oak Ridge Boys about the possibility of singing with them. A few weeks later he received a call from them asking him to come to Nashville.
After singing as a gospel group, they were persuaded to record some country songs when they appeared on a show with Roy Clark. The rest, as they say, is history.

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