We see a lot of country music fans lamenting that they never hear from their favorite entertainers from the ’80s and ’90s. Believe it or not, though, many of those acts are still actively out there pounding the pavement, taking their music to fans on the road. Some are even recording new tunes, like those sweet boys from Muscle Shoals, Alabama — Shenandoah.
Shenandoah kicked off their career with their 1987 self-titled debut album, which produced three singles, including the Top 10 “She Doesn’t Cry Anymore.” But with their 1989 album, “The Road Not Taken,” things began to skyrocket for Marty Raybon, Ralph Ezell, Stan Thorn, Jim Seales and Mike McGuire. That project produced what would go on to be signature songs for the band, like “The Church on Cumberland Road,” “Sunday In the South,” and “Two Dozen Roses”—all No. 1 singles.
Later No. 1 hits included 1990’s “Next To You, Next To Me” and 1994’s “If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too).”
The band continued having chart success into the mid ’90s before the individual members began to explore other avenues for their boundless creativity and the group disbanded for a period in the late ’90s. But in 2000, members of Shenandoah reunited and, with a couple of new players, they began making music again. Then in 2014, Marty Raybon, the original lead singer for Shenandoah returned to the group and, although founding member Ralph Ezell had passed away a few years earlier, the band was back!
Although Shenandoah continued to release new music while the structure of the band evolved throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, it has been 20 years since they put out any new music with Marty’s recognizable vocals on the lead.
Their incredible sound had a big influence on the next generation of country music, including some of the hottest and most successful young artists in the format.
But, guess what? Shenandoah? Oh, yeah, they’re back!
According to their website, Shenandoah is releasing a new album, “Reloaded,” early in 2018, and the debut single, “Noise,” is already available on iTunes.
Shenandoah recently gave a scaled-down performance on Nashville’s “Today In Nashville,” and it was as if time hadn’t even touched those delicious harmonies. Singing their 1989 chart-topper “The Church On Cumberland Road,” they sounded as fantastic as they ever had, and also reminded us of what was so amazing about that era of country music.
Now, the boys aren’t just putting out a new album, they’re also going out on tour—as they always have—with a pretty healthy schedule of show dates for 2018, including stops in Texas, Tennessee and throughout the midwest.
So even though the music that we hear on contemporary mainstream country radio today sounds a lot different than acts like Shenandoah, Alan Jackson, Alabama, Martina McBride, Diamond Rio, Pam Tillis and Restless Heart, the great thing is that all of these artists still actively tour, giving us opportunities to not only hear their great music, but to hear them perform it live. And it’s still so good!
It’s also nice to hear that their traditional sounds are living on through a new crop of talented young artists like Jon Pardi, Midland, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde, Cody Johnson and the incomparable Brandy Clark.
We aren’t mad about that!