Shenandoah Appreciate Being Included in ’90s Country Renaissance
Eighties and '90s hitmakers Shenandoah were booked to play a college bar in Tuscaloosa, Ala., recently, something Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire admit they did not understand at all. The 20-something audience was their demographic in 1990, but 25 years later?
That concert — a screaming success — illustrates a strange thing happening in country music right now. There's a '90s country music renaissance being led by artists too young to remember '90s country. Justin Moore is actively doing his best to recreate that sound. Michael Ray is a '90s country savant, even if his own music leans more contemporary. Those kids in Tuscaloosa?
“They're singing so loud that you can’t hear you," Raybon tells Taste of Country.
"We decided the only way that was possible was their mom and dad used to play our songs in the car while they were in the backseat," McGuire adds.
The hits include "Two Dozen Roses," "Next to You, Next to Me," "The Church on Cumberland Road" and "Sunday in the South," which hit No. 1 in 1989. Twenty-five years later Miranda Lambert would close her Platinum album with "Another Sunday in the South," an easy ballad that name-checks Shenandoah (among others) and features Raybon as a guest vocalist.
"Michael Ray, Jake Owen, several of 'em have reached out to us wanting to be friends," McGuire says with genuine appreciation, if not wonderment when asked about the new '90s comeback. "Brothers Osborne guys — several folks are telling us how much our music influenced them growing up."
"It's kind of like when you leave home and you’re trying to make dreams come true," Raybon adds. "Nobody ever says there is a certain place that you'll get that your dreams will come true."
Raybon reunited with Shenandoah after a 17-year hiatus in 2014 when a festival organizer they'd gotten to know brought them to the same place on the same weekend and (with some luck or perhaps fate) found a way to get them picking and telling stories once again during a break at soundcheck. Not long after that, Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts offered to produce an album for them. Reloaded dropped in 2018, and they've been touring steadily and plan to keep doing so in 2019.
They're also planning more new music by way of an album that cuts to the core of how they started. There's no timeline for this new project, but the Muscle Shoals, Ala., band plans to record a collection of songs written or recorded at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. There's a huge collection of songs to choose from, but since before their first gig as a signed act they featured a medley of Shoals songs in their sets. Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock n Roll," Hank Williams Jr.'s "Family Tradition," Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" — these are but three of the dozens, if not hundreds of songs they could choose from. Call it a covers album if you'd like, but it's much more of a tribute to the area that raised them.