PRINCETON — Rockland Road is set to perform on the premier night of this year’s Bureau County Fair.
The band will take center stage at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 in the grandstand.
It will be the family band’s second appearance at Illinois’ oldest county fair. Audiences will remember their performance from two years ago when they opened for the Oak Ridge Boys. Back then, the band went under the name Martin Family Circus.
In an exclusive interview with the BCR, Paul Martin, the patriarch of the six-member family singing group, joked the band’s name was changed to eliminate confusion of being a real circus act at fairs and festivals.
The name Rockland Road has a lot of meaning to the family. It’s a street name in Nashville where a popular recording studio is located. That studio, which is also named Rockland Road, was once owned and headquartered by the Oak Ridge Boys. It’s a place where countless hit records were recorded.
What’s the tie between Rockland Road and the Oak Ridge Boys? Jamie Martin, the matriarch of the Rockland Road band, is the daughter of Duane Allen of the Oaks.
Martin said he’s honored to be bringing his family back to the Princeton area, which had quite an impression on him back in 2017. One of most memorable moments of their concert then was when today’s Bureau County Fair Board President Kyle Burrows proposed to his then-girlfriend on stage during the Oak Ridge Boys concert.
‘Here to see our friends’
“It’s so much fun. We’re not just coming to play a show. We’re here to see our friends,” he said.
Audiences will enjoy new songs since the family’s appearance in Bureau County two summers ago. Martin describes their new material to be “a little more mature.” He added the family is always evolving their show.
Since 2010, Martin and his wife, Jamie, have been singing together with their four children, whose ages range from 12 to 21. They represent four generations of musical heritage. They describe themselves as a “powerhouse of soulful vocals blended with a pure, exuberant joy worthy of the literal and figurative blood that flows their veins making them family.”
When regional performances began to boom, it quickly led to appearances on national television on shows like “The Huckabee Show,” the Oak Ridge Boys’ American Legion Christmas special, “The Marty Stuart Show,” “Country’s Family Reunion,” “Gaither Homecoming” and “Larry’s Country Diner.”
They’ve taken their stage show to venues as varied as the U.S. Library of Congress, the Country Music Cruise, the Grand Ole Opry, the White House, and countless fairs, festivals and performing arts centers across the country.
Additionally, they’ve performed the national anthem for many major NBA, MLB and NCAA sporting events, including the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Thankful to be performing
Martin said his family is extremely thankful to be able to do what they each love most together.
Even while they are on the road, Martin and his wife instill a good work ethic to their children and teach positive life lessons, such as what it means to be a hard-working artist and always providing a good connection with an audience.
“I tell my kids, chances of work are slim if you don’t have good work ethic,” Martin said.
Being down-to-earth and wholesome is what the Martin family prides themselves on. Martin said they strive to make a close connection with all audiences — no matter how big or small.
“Everyone has their mission, and our mission is to put a smile on everyone’s face,” he said.