When country music lovers talk about the greatest groups in the genre, Shenandoah is always at the forefront of any discussion. Fueled by Marty Raybon’s distinctive vocals and the band’s skilled musicianship, Shenandoah became well known for delivering such hits as “Two Dozen Roses”, “Church on Cumberland Road” and “Next to You, Next to Me” as well as such achingly beautiful classics as “I Want to be Loved Like That” and the Grammy winning “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” duet with Alison Krauss. Today that legacy continues as original members Raybon and Mike McGuire reunite to launch a new chapter in Shenandoah’s storied career.
It all began when the guys got back together to perform a benefit concert for a friend battling cancer. “We saw how folks reacted,” Raybon says of the response to their reunion. “And then Jerry Phillips, son of legendary Sun Records producer Sam Phillips, said ‘You guys need to make a run at this. People still love what you do. You can tell by the reaction. McGuire credits Raybon’s vocals for providing Shenandoah with an identifiable sound. “When you hear Marty Raybon sing there’s nobody that sounds like him,” McGuire says. “There’s nobody that’s got the same chops that he’s got and he’s singing from his heart. That’s one of the reasons that everybody wants to hear him sing. Marty and me, we go way back. We’ve done a lot of things together and we love each other like brothers.” Shenandoah recorded nine studio albums and placed 26 singles on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
The boys from Muscle Shoals have left a potent legacy at country radio with such enduring hits as “Ghost in This House,” “I Want to Be Loved Like That”, “Rock My Baby,” “Janie Baker’s Love Slave,” “If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)”, written by Raybon and McGuire and “Her Leavin's Been a Long Time Comin,” in which former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman was in the video (also written by McGuire). “Today Shenandoah is in the top five recurrents on all the XM radio shows,” Raybon says. “That’s amazing to know that you are in the company of Alabama and George Strait. It’s hard to believe.”
It was music that brought them together and music that continues to bind them as they enter this next chapter. “We were fortunate enough to have songs that seemed to touch a great deal of people and while doing so it created a lot of memories,” says Raybon. “I truly do believe that there are seasons in life and I believe that there is a time and a place when God allows things. We’ve sat down and talked about reuniting before but it wasn’t the right time for it then, but I do believe it is time for it now.” McGuire agrees. “We are really proud of the quality of the material that we have in our catalog and how it’s touched so many people’s lives,” McGuire says. “As far as the future goes, I’m expecting more of the same. We’re still the same guys. Marty still has the same voice he had back in that day and I still have the same harmonies that I sung on all those records. I expect the records we cut in the future are still going to sound like Shenandoah and the songs are going to be just as good if not better.”