Shenandoah (band)

Shenandoah (band)

Infobox Musician
Name = Shenandoah

Img_capt = Shenandoah in July 2008 (l-r: Mike Folsom, Stan Munsey, Jimmy Yeary, Jim Seales, Mike McGuire)
Img_size =
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA
Genre = Country
Years_active = 1985-present
Label = Columbia
Free Falls
Cumberland Road
Associated_acts = Alison Krauss
Raybon Brothers
Current_members = Jimmy Yeary
Mike Folsom
Mike McGuire
Stan Munsey
Jim Seales
Past_members = Ralph Ezell
Brent Lamb
Marty Raybon
Rocky Thacker
Stan Thorn
Curtis Wright

Shenandoah are a Grammy Award-winning American country music band founded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 1985 by Marty Raybon (lead vocals), Ralph Ezell (bass guitar), Stan Thorn (keyboards), Jim Seales (lead guitar), and Mike McGuire (drums).cite web |url= |title=Shenandoah biography |accessdate=2008-07-28 |last=Bush |first=John |work=Allmusic] After a series of membership changes, the band's membership as of 2008 comprises Jimmy Yeary (lead vocals), Mike Folsom (bass guitar), Jim Seales (lead guitar), Stan Munsey (keyboards) and Mike McGuire (drums).

Overall, Shenandoah have released seventeen albums, and have charted twenty-six singles on the "Billboard" Hot Country Songs charts. This total includes five Number Ones: "The Church on Cumberland Road", "Sunday in the South" and "Two Dozen Roses" (all 1989), "Next to You, Next to Me" (1990), and "If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)" (1993).



Lead guitarist Jim Seales and drummer Mike McGuire formed Shenandoah in 1984 as a house band in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. They added three more members to the band a year later - bluegrass singer Marty Raybon, bass guitarist Ralph Ezell, and keyboard player Stan Thorn. McGuire invited songwriting friend Robert Byrne to one of the band's shows. Byrne was impressed with the band that he invited them into his recording studio to cut a demo. He pitched the demo to Columbia Records. Columbia was impressed with Shenandoah enough to sign them to the label shortly thereafter.


In 1987, Shenandoah released its self-titled debut album for Columbia. It produced its first three singles - the top 60 hit, "They Don't Make Love Like We Used To," the Top 30 hit, "Stop the Rain," and the band's first Top 10 hit, "She Doesn't Cry Anymore." In 1989, Shenandoah released its second album, "The Road Not Taken". It produced two Top 10 hits, "Mama Knows," and "See If I Care." It also produced the band's first three No. 1 hits - "The Church on Cumberland Road," "Sunday in the South," and "Two Dozen Roses." 1990 saw the release of the band's third album, "Extra Mile". It produced another No. 1, "Next to You, Next to Me," along with three Top 10 hits ("Ghost in This House," "I Got You," and "The Moon Over Georgia") and the Top 40 hit, "When You Were Mine."

While Shenandoah was enjoying their success, they ran into legal problems in 1991, when three other bands bearing the Shenandoah name came forward and sued the band. To make matters worse, Columbia Records and Shenandoah parted ways after a legal entanglement involving their recording contract. This came after Columbia had issued Shenandoah's first greatest-hits compilation. Eventually, the band settled their legal issues and was signed to RCA Records. Their fifth album, and first for RCA, "Long Time Comin"', was released, producing the Top 5 hit, "Rock My Baby," the Top 15 "Leavin's Been a Long Time Comin'," and the Top 30 "Hey Mister (I Need This Job)." 1993 saw the release of Shenandoah's sixth album, "Under the Kudzu", producing the No. 1 "If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)," the Top 5 "I Want to Be Loved Like That," the Top 15 "Janie Baker's Love Slave," and the Top 50 "I'll Go Down Loving You."


In 1994, Shenandoah left RCA after a greatest-hits compilation was issued for that label and moved to Liberty Records (the Nashville division of Capitol Records), and recorded their first album for the label, and eighth album overall, "In the Vicinity of the Heart". The album was released in January 1995, and produced the Top 10 hit "Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart," which was a duet with Alison Krauss. (Shenandoah and Alison won a Grammy and a CMA award for the collaboration that same year.) The album also produced a Top 5 hit, "Darned If I Don't (Danged If I Do),"the Top 30, "Heaven Bound (I'm Ready)," and the Top 40, "Always Have, Always Will." (Keyboardist Stan Thorn left Shenandoah after the success of "Darned If I Don't (Danged If I Do)," and Stan Munsey replaced him). 1996 saw the release of their third greatest-hits album, "Now and Then". The album consisted mostly of re-recordings of their Columbia hits and also included four new tracks. One of the songs, "All Over But the Shoutin'," peaked at No. 43.

Lead singer Marty Raybon and bass guitarist Ralph Ezell both left Shenandoah after "Now and Then" was released, and Shenandoah eventually left Capitol. After Raybon left, he and his brother, Tim, formed a country duo, calling themselves the Raybon Brothers. The duo achieved country and pop success with their rendition of the Bob Carlisle hit "Butterfly Kisses." Marty has also released four albums of gospel music.


Meanwhile, the remaining members of Shenandoah, guitarist Jim Seales and drummer Mike McGuire, recruited lead singer Brent Lamb and bass guitarist Rocky Thacker, and in 2000, recorded their next album, "Shenandoah 2000", under a small independent label. The album produced a minor hit when "What Children Believe" peaked at No. 65. A couple of years later, original bass guitarist Ralph Ezell came back on board and a new lead singer, songwriter Curtis Wright, also joined the lineup. (Wright had written two of Shenandoah's hits, "Rock My Baby," and "Next to You, Next to Me". The latter of these was a co-write with Robert Ellis Orrall, with whom Wright also recorded in the duo Orrall & Wright.) The new lineup continued to tour all over the United States, until the passing of Ralph Ezell on November 30th, 2007 of an apparent heart attack. He was 54 years old. Mike Folsom succeeded him as the band's bass guitarist, and shortly afterward, Wright left to join the band Pure Prairie League, and songwriter Jimmy Yeary became the band's fourth lead vocalist.



External links

* [ Shenandoah official website]

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