The eighties gave birth to many monstrous bands full of energy and emotion. And country super group Shenandoah was no exception. They released a self-titled album in 1987 on Columbia Records’ CBS Records division and have racked up twenty-six singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts since then. Alison Krauss recorded “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” with the group in 1994 and both artists received a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. They have influenced many artists since and will hold a great place in country music now and for generations to come. We are going to take a look at the group Shenandoah Reloaded and find out what they’ve been up to lately.
The band’s sound is is a blend of country, bluegrass and gospel and reflects everything the band has done in the past and will do in the future. The accomplishments of Shenandoah are remarkable, undeniable, but I get the feeling they have a lot more to do. I spoke with lead singer, Marty Raybon and asked him what he thought was the key to Shenandoah’s success. Raybon expressed, “The Songs we recorded back then were identifiable. They resonated [with people and were about] heartbreak, love everlasting, and they related to people’s everyday lives. Songs like “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart “and “Sunday in the South” – people identified themselves with those songs. “Sunday in the South” for instance was identifiable to people even if they weren’t from the south. It’s mostly getting together in fellowship on Sunday afternoon. That is what we want to accomplish in our new music, identify with people on a personal level.”
Raybon continued, “We did a couple shows in Canada the first of November and we were all really excited because the show turned out so well and during that trip I think it was Mike who mentioned we should release a Christmas Album. Christmas albums are usually recorded in July and August, so there was concern we couldn’t finish it in time, but when we got back we hit the ground running and made it happen. We are all ecstatic about the way it turned out and we hope everyone will pick one up.” Raybon also mentioned “We are gonna have a fan club and we’re gonna have mail outs for people who still don’t do email. We will email as well, we want to reach as many people as possible.”
In speaking with Mike McGuire, the drummer for Shenandoah, he was as excited about the new music as Marty Raybon. I asked McGuire about their new Christmas album and he expressed, “There is only one traditional song on our new Christmas album and the rest of them are songs written by the band. We had a hand full of Christmas songs we had written over the years, so that helped make it happen. One of the songs on the album called the Family Tree, Marty and I wrote before we even became Shenandoah. The first single off the album is a song I wrote called “Mary had a Little Lamb and his name was Jesus” so we will be using it to promote the album. The album was recorded at the studio owned by my brother and I, and that helped us expedite the album so fast, along with my sister taking the album cover photo.”
McGuire finishes, “We are in the studio mixing down a live album which was recorded back in our heyday and we will put it out at some point. We are also rerecording several of our original hits and with the technology today we can make them sound even better.” Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire, when asked what their favorite Shenandoah song was, both said ” Sunday in the South” without hesitation. There are so many it’s surprising that an answer was given, but ” Sunday in the South” probably ranks at the top of most Shenandoah fans lists as well. When you think of songs like “Two Dozen Roses, ” “Mama Knows'” “The Church on Cumberland Road,” and “I Wanna Be Loved Like That,” these song will remain in the hearts of fans for years to come. Shenandoah is Reloaded and ready for action and we look forward to hearing what they come up with next. For more on Shenandoah and ways to purchase their music, click here.