Shenandoah Talks New Live Album 'Reloaded,' Shares Cover Art & Tracklist: Exclusive
One thing on the bucket list of country favorites Shenandoah was to record a live album. It’s something that lead singer Marty Raybon tells Billboard they have wanted to do since their peak commercial years in the 1980s and 1990s.
“We had always wanted to capture our show live," he says. "I think it’s a way of getting a little more of an insight into the artist, what they are all about, and what their show consists of. I think it’s a great way to advertise what you do so that people will come out to see you.”
Now, three decades after the Grammy winners hit the top ten for the first time with “She Doesn’t Cry Anymore,” they are getting that chance – sort of. March 16 will see the release of Reloaded – the band’s first release for BMG, which Billboard is proud to offer an exclusive first look at the album art (below) and the tracklisting (you can find the track list at the bottom of page).
The disc will include nine of their classic hits performed live, as well as three new tracks – the first new studio recordings with Raybon singing lead since he rejoined the group. “The label wanted a hybrid album,” he states. “They wanted some new stuff, but they also wanted the hits. It’s great hearing the old stuff."
There will be a few slight differences to the classics, though: “It’s not like we changed it a great deal, but when you go into the studio and record music, you do it a certain way at the time because you feel like you put everything into it that needs to be there. Then, through the years, as you’ve been doing it live, there’s certain little bits that you notice the crowd really gets into."
Being back together on the stage has made for an interesting dynamic, says Raybon. “What we’ve found out is that we’ve got a lot of young people who have brought their moms and dads with them. When a lot of them were going to school or ball practice, their parents might have had our music in the tape players. It’s been nice, sort of like a second wave, something we all have really enjoyed.”
Once word hit Music Row about Raybon rejoining the band (he left in 1997), the phone began to ring. “Mike (McGuire, drummer for the group) had gotten a phone call from Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts," Raybon recalls. "He asked him about the rumors that I was back with the band. He said he would love to take us into the studio and record some sides. So, we talked on the phone, and Jay said he would have his person call up some publishing houses. We would meet at ASCAP, and have them come in and play us some stuff.”
Three of those songs that the band was pitched wound up making Reloaded. Below, Raybon offers his thoughts on each.
“Noise” (written by Gordie Sampson, Jim McCormick, and Radney Foster)
“What really sold me on it was across the first verse where it says ‘When we kiss, the world outside is gone.’ I guess I am a romantic at heart. I just thought that the lyric was really strong. I just thought the lyric was commercial, and it had a great story to it. When we got done with everything, we knew it had to be the first single. When we sat down with Jay, we talked about the fact that we always felt like Shenandoah had great lyric content in what a song said. There was a story to be told. With the new material, we wanted to keep that integrity while realizing that Jay was up to date sonically with what he was producing on Rascal Flatts and Ronnie Dunn. It really made for a great match.”
“Little Bit Of Livin” (written by Jessi Alexander, Matt Jenkins, and Josh Osborne)
“The first time I heard that, I turned to Mike and said ‘That sounds like an updated version of "Next To You, Next To Me."' The fiddle and the lyric content are very similar. It was one that definitely had to be on the project. It’s one that will make for a very good live song for us.”
“That’s Where I Grew Up” (written by Neil Thrasher, Ashley Gorley, and Kelley Lovelace)
“That one brings you through a period of life in the three verses of the song. First off, it talks about childhood, and when you were growing up. The next thing you know, you’re a young man on the riverbank with your buddies and a case of beer. Then, it wraps up by saying that when you really grew up was finding out what true love means when you realizing you are going to continue being the boy in the relationship or be a man.”
Reloaded track listing:
1. NEXT TO YOU, NEXT TO ME (LIVE)
WRITERS: CURTIS WRIGHT, ROBERT ELLIS ORRALL
2. IF BUBBA CAN DANCE, I CAN TOO (LIVE)
WRITERS: BOB MCDILL, MARTY RAYBON, MIKE MCGUIRE
3. THE MOON OVER GEORGIA (LIVE)
WRITERS: MARK NARMORE
4. MAMA KNOWS (LIVE)
WRITERS: T. HASELDEN, T. MENZIES
5. SUNDAY IN THE SOUTH (LIVE)
WRITERS: J. BOOKER
6. I WANT TO BE LOVED LIKE THAT (LIVE)
WRITERS: PHIL BARNHART, SAM HOGIN, BILL LABOUNTY
7. GHOST IN THIS HOUSE (LIVE)
WRITERS: HUGH PRESWOOD
8. TWO DOZEN ROSES (LIVE)
WRITERS: R. BYRNE, M. MCANALLY
9. THE CHURCH ON CUMBERLAND ROAD (LIVE)
WRITERS: BOB DIPIERO, DENNIS ROBBINS, JOHN SCOTT SHERRILL
WRITERS: Gordie Sampson / Jim McCormick / Radney Foster
11. THAT’S WHERE I GREW UP
WRITERS: Neil Thrasher / Ashley Gorley / Kelley Lovelace
12. LITTLE BIT OF LIVIN
WRITERS: Jessi Alexander / Matt Jenkins / Josh Osborne