William Lee Golden couldn’t take another piece of bad news.

His sons, Rusty, Craig and Chris, were mourning the loss of their mother while the famed Oak Ridge Boys member with the iconic white beard was mourning the loss of his first wife and high school sweetheart. And due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world was mourning the loss of far, far too many.

Golden had to find a way to escape; he had to find a way to heal. So, he headed into the studio with his family.

“I had a vision to do this for, like, three years, but I could never get everyone together at the same time,” the Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member explains in an exclusive interview. “The pandemic allowed us to get in the studio together, and that was a blessing for many reasons, but partly because I think we all had to find a way to get away from television and get out of the house. It was just too much negative and hate and violence coming from every direction.”

Indeed, it was something of a therapeutic exercise for Golden to reminisce on better days by listening to and re-creating the uplifting and inspirational music of the past.

“To me and to my family, and to all the guys that were helping us sing and play, it was a chance for us to go in and do something positive and get lifted up," Golden says. "There was a negative situation occurring outside the doors, but it was a negative situation that we had no control over.”

One of those uplifting and inspirational songs was the 1917 hymn “Come and Dine.” Their rendition is premiering exclusively via Taste of Country and The Boot; press play below to listen.

“This song took me back to my childhood, and I wanted to take my sons back there with me. It took me back to where I came from,” says Golden. "Come and Dine" is the first single to be released from the collection of albums he and his family created together: Old Country Church Gospel, Country Roads: Vintage Country Classics and Southern Accents: Pop & Country Rock, all set for release in early 2022.

Golden still remembers those days, growing up with his family on the Alabama/Florida state line, where songs including "Come and Dine" would fill the home. “That’s how we spent our time, listening to music and playing music and, of course, singing music,” recalls the artist, who recently told his life story in the book Behind the Beard.

When all was said and done, Golden and his sons had recorded a total of 32 songs, 12 of which were old gospel songs and 10 of which were classic country songs. “I wanted my kids and grandkids to go back to the songs that touched them,” says Golden, who also enlisted his grandchildren Elizabeth, Rebekah and Elijah and friends Aaron McCune, Ben Isaacs and Michael Sykes for the sessions.

“Together, we could bring these songs back to life and put our feelings within each and every one of them," Golden continues. "We respect the writers for writing songs that touched us, so it's a way to honor them while healing ourselves in the process.”

A music video for "Come and Dine" finds Golden joining together with three generations of family and friends for a hearty, home-cooked meal — or was it?

“Well, to be honest with you, my wife ordered that from Cracker Barrel, and then we put it in our own dishes,” Golden admits with a hearty laugh. “That's what really happened" — and it was perfectly fine with him.

“We’ve been all shut down from having family over for a while. We've been shut out of church so we can't get together and sing songs,” Golden concludes. “But now, we can come together in this moment and have a reason to celebrate.”

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