Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire of ‘90s country group, Shenandoah, stopped by The Bobby Bones Show to share how they asked Luke Combs to do a song, why Raybon left the band for several years, if they are working on new music and more!
Shenandoah got their start in Muscle Shoals, Alabama when they formed in 1984, and released their self-titled debut album in 1987. In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, they became one of country music's most popular groups for hits like “Next to You, Next to Me,” “Church on the Cumberland Road,” and “Two Dozen Roses.” They signed to a new record label, and they wanted to take their best songs and re-do them, especially since ‘90s country was having a huge resurgence. They started receiving a lot of texts asking if they saw Luke Combs cover their 1989 number-one song “Two Dozen Roses,” and they realized how popular the song had become again and knew someone was going to cover it soon. So, they decided to re-record it and put it out before anyone could, and they asked Combs to be a part of it. “Two Dozen Roses” has become such an iconic hit that they close their live shows by performing it because it’s always gotten the biggest reaction.
Raybon left the band in 1997 because he felt burned out. For years, they would spend 310 days on the road and hardly were ever home, so it started to take a toll on him. He was still playing music in a bluegrass band on the side with his brother, Tim, and their song “Butterfly Kisses” won them a GRAMMY. The timing for Shenandoah to get back together never felt right until 2014, 17 years after he first left. When he came back, he wanted to do everything he could for the band because they felt like they still had something to say and another tune they could record that would be a smash. When they got back together, the rise in popularity of ‘90s country music hadn’t happened yet, so they had no idea it was about to make a huge comeback.
Their song “If Bubba Can Dance (So Can I)” almost never got written. They had a writing session with Bob McDill, but nothing came from it. As they were getting ready to leave, he asked if the line dancing and honky Tonks was truly happening in Nashville like he saw on TV. That’s when the idea for the song title happened and they wrote the first verse and chorus and McDill wrote the rest. While in studio, they reflected on some of their other songs like “Church on the Cumberland Road” that Raybon said Wynonna Judd told him that it was pitched to The Judds originally to record but they passed on it, which he was happy about because it became one of Shenandoah’s biggest hits. “Next to You, Next to Me,” was their first song that included a fiddle. The song was done but it was missing something, so they put a fiddle on it, and he called it the icing on the cake.
Shenandoah has been a band for more than 30 years, but people still get their names wrong. It’s been spelled every way and people will ask them where Shannon is. In 2023, they played over 50 shows and appreciate people who spend a little money to see them. They were hired to entertain people and they like to make sure the crowd feels like they were part of the show and entertained and not just sitting there. They love to make their concerts full of high energy and try to get the crowd involved as much as possible.
Shenandoah is currently working on new music and recently recorded a new song with Alison Krauss that they called a love song that will make you emotional. There is no release date yet. For more information visit Shenandoahband.com.