I was pretty excited when Miranda Lambert's album, Platinum, was honored as Album Of The Year at the CMA's for a variety of reasons. But if I had to narrow down those reasons it would come down to the fact she paid tribute to one of country's most legendary bands, Shenandoah, in her song "Another Sunday In The South."
Listening to her song took me right back to where I was when I would hear Shenandoah's song "Sunday In The South" come on the radio. But isn't that what good music is suppose to do? It's hard for any fan of 90's country music to take a trip down memory lane without at least one Shenandoah song being a part of their personal soundtrack. Their songs paving the way for nostalgia to come rushing back in the form of memories and emotions.
Shenandoah has released nine studio albums, two of which two have been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The band has also charted twenty-six singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including the Number One hits "Ghost In This House","The Church on Cumberland Road," "Sunday in the South" and "Two Dozen Roses" from 1989, "Next to You, Next to Me" from 1990, and "If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)" from 1994. The late 1994-early 1995 single "Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart," which featured guest vocals from Alison Krauss, won both artists a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
With accomplishments like that, I had one burning question….where was Shenandoah now?! And to my delight…the answer was exciting. Not only do we have a tour coming our way in 2015, but NEW music. I sat down with lead singer, Marty Raybon, to get the details straight from the horse's mouth…
One thing needs to be known about Marty Raybon. He is hands down one of the most passionate musicians I've ever spoke to. Passionate about song writing, about playing music and about the band. The band's original members consisted of Marty Raybon , Ralph Ezell, Stan Thorn, Jim Seales and Mike McGuire and helped define a new sound for country music in the late 80's/early 90's. At that time, the guys were coming in the shadows of the Johnny Cash's, Vern Gosdin's, and George Jones'.
"To even be considered on their level was an achievement" Marty says humbly.
It's that humble nature that really set the tone in the interview. As he talked about such hits like "Next To You, Next To Me" it started to paint a picture of just why these guys were so successful. He explained that song was picturesque of a date. Every little detail mixed in the lyrics. Marty went on to say, "We found acceptance because the lyric and content of our songs were just so relatable and came from where we were in life and helped take people on a journey."
As we approach the next chapter in the Shenandoah story, we learn that not much has changed in how they view music. In fact, Marty said, "We listen as intently to songs as all country music lovers."
This sparked my interest as we so often assume the artist live in a bubble and hear music differently than we do. So naturally knowing he was listening to music like every other human does, I had to ask what his favorite song was.
While it was hard to narrow it down, he said "God Bless The Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts. "It has every element needed to write a good song and the perfect amount of reflection." That's some powerful stuff right there.
That insight is what the future of Shenandoah is all about. As the guys are back in the studio and with country music significantly different than it was back when they released their last album, I was so pleased to learn their sound, while evolved, will not deviate from the relevance in their lives. The harmony, the lyrics, it will all have something to say. Including a song that Marty and Billy Montana were working on called, "I Want Some Of That". The title had me a little nervous…I mean, that sounds like it could be a smash hit for a bro country artist. But hearing Marty explain the depth to the song as me anxious to hear "some of that". The album is still being finished up and no immediate date as been set to release it…but it's coming and that's all I need to know.
BUT… for those of us that are in need of some Marty Raybon, Mike McGuire, Stan Munsey, Chris Roach, Jamie Michael and Donnie Allen in our lives…The Shenandoah featuring Marty Raybon RELOADED Tour will kick off in 2015 and details can be found here: http://www.shenandoahband.com/