Post from Calhoun County Insight
Everybody goes through a rough patch of road. For some folks the potholes are a little deeper, and anytime you can help folks out that’s just always a good thing,” Marty Raybon, lead singer of Grammy-award winning country music group Shenandoah, is happy to lend a “hand up” to Jacksonville State University.
Shenandoah is one of nine groups performing at the Alabama and Friends Benefit Concert at Burgess-Snow Field on September 26.
“We’re going to rare back and give them the ole ‘what for,’” Raybon says of the upcoming concert. “When we go across the country I tell folks ‘We’re about to put a little Alabama stomp on y’all,’ ” he laughed.
Raybon says he was “really excited” when Randy Owen, lead singer of Alabama, asked Shenandoah to be part of the concert. “The opportunity of being able to come in a situation like this where folks are needing some mending and some help and that kind of stuff, it’s just always a good thing to be able to be a part of,” Raybon says. “I think music is very, very wonderful healing tool.”
“[Music] can literally take away something that seemed to be so painful and bring it back and allow folks to feel the joy and the comfort,” Raybon continues.
Shenandoah will perform some of their greatest hits at the upcoming benefit concert. “We’re going to do “Two Dozen Roses” and “Church on Cumberland Road” because folks are familiar with that, and therefore you give folks the opportunity to hear some songs that they’re familiar with and really just to come and be a part of the festivities, and we’re excited about it,” Raybon says. “And of course, hey it’s always a good thing when you get a chance to get together with a gang of buddies that you had through the years and pick and sing together.”
Shenandoah released the album Reloaded earlier this year. “Our first single from that was a tune called “Noise” that done real, real well,” Raybon says. “In fact, it was our first top 20 record in 20 years.”
Reloaded includes live recordings from some of Shenandoah’s greatest hits, giving fans the chance to revisit those classics in a new way. “Down through the years you tend to do your records and stuff like that, and then you start changing them and they morph into this and morph into that,” Raybon says. “You don’t change them to the point that people don’t recognize them, it’s just that you continue doing different things to keep them interesting because I believe that if you ever get bored with what you’re doing then maybe you need to change it up a little bit and put a little spice in it, just like you would life.”
Raybon acknowledges and truly appreciates the sacrifices that people make to support his music. He pinpoints one night at a fair in West Virginia in the late 80s that he says was “the catalyst” for the way Shenandoah sets out to perform.
“After the show we’d go out to the table and sign autographs and stuff and there was a young couple that came up. And me and Jim Seals, the guitar player, we were sitting on the last two seats as they were coming through the line, and this young couple said ‘You know, we knew this was a night that y’all were going to be at the fair and we wanted to come and see yall, but we didn’t pay our electric bill so that we could pay to get in the fair’… Me and Jim just kind of looked at each other. And then that night on the bus we brought that up, and we talked about literally the importance and what we do… I think it’s just real, real important to truly understand the conclusion that we came to that night.”
Raybon says, “That night it became different, because we realized that people had to make exceptions even in their own lives. You know some people have to get baby sitters, this couple didnt pay their light bill. Some people take off a half a day work, some people take off a whole day work to get to where the show is, and from that point on we’ve never ever tried to take for granted people coming to see us.”
Raybon says that for most shows, Shenandoah is contracted to play for 90 minutes, and while they usually play longer, he recognizes the importance those 90 minutes can hold for their fans. “If we literally can capture them, and we literally can occupy their head space for 90 minutes and take them as far away from the care and concern they’ve got on their heart or what’s rattling around in their mind. And for that 90 minutes if we can capture them and get them involved. I mean singing along hoopin’ and hollerin’ and I mean really having a big time… when we’ve really done our job is at the end of the night that they left and that they’re truly proud that they came.”
Shenandoah’s performance at the Alabama and Friends Benefit Concert is sure to deliver on Raybon’s promise to entertain. “We truly love doing what we do,” Raybon says. “What’s that old saying? Don’t tell me you love me, show me you love me. I really do believe that that applies.”