Country music veteran group Shenandoah has recently released Reloaded. The disc includes nine of their classic hits performed live, as well as three new tracks - the first new studio recordings with Marty Raybon singing lead since he rejoined the group.
The band has also charted twenty-six singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including the Number One hits "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.
We are honored to catch up with Marty Raybon to talk about this brand new album and his time with Shenandoah.
Q: Congratulations on the released of your new project "Reloaded." Nine of the songs are your hits recorded live. Why did you decide to record them live?
A: First of all, Thank you. The record label actually approached us with the concept of past hits recorded live. We found that very flattering. We had wanted to do a live Album years ago, With another label we were working with. They seemed to think at that time "Live" recordings were not selling well.
So when BMG asked us about doing a New project with past hits live, We felt extremely excited. You know after a few years of doing your songs night after night you tend to make changes to them. Not anything drastic, but to keep them fresh to you, and continue the excitement level for the audience as well. Folks really know when you hearts into what your doing, and if we are energized, that enthusiasm carries in to the crowd.
Q: With hindsight and more wisdom of the years, did you approach these older hits any different?
A: The sounds in music have changed a great deal from the time we recorded these songs years ago. Not necessarily instrumentation, But, because of the tech advances these days different tone are used. We knew Jay DeMarcus could pull that off with the new tunes we'd cut with him in the studio. But, we had to make sure the Live tracks matched. We have a great front of house sound guy in Brent Sparks, He has worked with us for years and really good at getting up the tones that would match for mastering. That's a hard thing to do, when your dealing with an uncontrolled stage opposed to a sound proof studio.
Q: Over the years, Shenandoah has had so many hits, was it difficult to narrow down your choices to these nine?
A: We took the process of picking the staples first when figuring out which ones to put on the new project. Where it got hard was trying to pick the studio tunes we had done with Jay DeMarcus. We had cut Five tunes with him and wanted to get as much new music out there as we could for the fans. But BMG's thoughts were, the more of the older proven hits would serve best.
Q: I know this may be unfair to ask, but do you have a favorite Shenandoah album and song? And why?
A: THE ROAD NOT TAKEN would be the album. On that same album was one of the staples in the show, The tune would be "SUNDAY IN THE SOUTH" It reminds me not only of where we grew up, But how we grew up.
Q: On top of your older stuff, you also have three new songs. Tell us about these new songs, why did you choose them?
A: Mid-Tempo, "NOISE", the first single sounded the most commercial to bring to Radio. It sounds like a song we would have cut years ago. I don't think there is anyone in love that wouldn't want to hear the lyric though in the story line. To me it says, the world stops when your around everything else is just back ground.
The Ballad "WHERE I GREW UP" is one of those songs you have to have on a album to make it complete. Through the seasons of your life you grow and learn of the things that are truly important.
Up-Tempo " LITTLE BIT OF LIVIN'" is a bouncey tune with a light hearted lyric that just makes you feel good when you hear it.
Q: Not many bands do have the longevity as Shenandoah, what do you think are some factors that helped built your longevity?
A: Now a days longevity in the music business I believe, Can only be obtained by recreating yourselves. Always trying to be relevant is using your strong points when looking for opportunities to get you where you've not been before. Plans and strategies help to find those possibility and outlets. I also believe great tunes that have said and meant a great deal to folks has been the catalyst. But more than all loving what you do speaks volumes for longevity.
Q: What do you think of country music now compared to country music in the 90s?
A: The story lines seem to be a lot of the same today. The tempos and drum loop tracks take away from the more traditional sounds of yesterday. The key word would be preference I guess. I know for things to keep living, the new has come along. I think there is room out there for all of us, I prefer the older myself.
Q: What's next for yourself and the group in the near future?
A: The Lord is truly blessing us, I'm so thankful for that. I am having the time of my life. I love the guys I work with. We are enjoying the new found serge for the group all over the country. We are actually looking for tunes for the next CD project now. Very grateful to be part of what the future holds.