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-know 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 Award 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. Though they've secured their place in country music history, Raybon and McGuire are not content to rest on their laurels and have never stopped looking for new hit songs. With a pile of outstanding songs waiting to be recorded, the group moves forward into the next chapter, determined to deliver the same top-tier music that is synonymous with Shenandoah.
The group's first Gospel release, Good News Travels Fast, officially drops on April 29th on the Daywind Roots label. The band's signature sound, as well as Raybon's unmistakable vocals, seamlessly lend themselves to eleven songs of faith, redemption and familiar southern Sundays. We are honored to catch up with Marty Raybon for this exclusive interview.
Q: Over the course of your lengthy career, you have had done some Christian-influenced songs such as "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, "Sunday in the South," and "Church on Cumberland Road," so it's exciting to hear you are releasing a Gospel album. Why a full Gospel album?
A. Mike McGuire our Drummer's brother Bud, had been talking with the folks at Daywind Records. There had been some interest in us doing a Gospel project for years. I had done a few on my own In years past, But not as the group Shenandoah. Message music has always been really important to me. Reaching people with the Good News is one of the ways we can fulfill the great commission, that we have been entrusted with as believers. His Word never goes void using music or the spoken word.
Q: Who did you work with (in terms of producer and songwriters) for this new Gospel album?
A. I had mentioned the name Bud McGuire, he had produced the tracks and the songwriting was a collective effort of many. Gerald Crabb, Jerry Salley, Tim Mensey, Mark Narmore, Mike McGuire, Mike Curtis, Rusty Moody, Bud McGuire and Myself.
Q: Did you approach the making of this album a little differently than you would for your previous albums?
A. As far as the approach of recording it wasn't different. Certainly the message and what the tunes had to say meant a great deal. We wanted them to bring out the things that we may have all gone through in our life as a believer, as many do. The good news of grace, is there to help strengthen the faithful and to those who are searching to find it. Once again that's why I believe message music is so powerful. We get to sing that to them and not pound them over the head with a ninety pound bible.
Q: Is there a single released off the record yet? Will you be servicing country radio with a single too?
A. The title cut, "GOOD NEWS TRAVELS FAST" is the new single. I believe that Daywind is trying to service all the outlets available Country and Gospel radio.
Q: Is this Gospel album a once off project or do you think you will continue to walk down this route?
A. I certainly hope not. There is lot we want to say in our music. Like we have in the past on our Country recordings. The Lord is the one main thing in our life, it's hard not to tell of all his goodness that He has bestowed upon us. We look to the future and His direction in it whatever it may be another Gospel record or not.
Q: Speaking of the Gospel, what does Jesus mean to you? And what role does he play in your life?
I'll speak for myself on this question.It is a consensus of us all I truly believe. He, Christ is the Son of the most high God and along side Him there is no other. He is the savior of my life and the forgiveness of my sins. As The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, I do say every good thing that has ever happened to me has been because of Him. He is my life.