Exclusive: Shenandoah Discuss New 'Reloaded' Album

Shenandoah is back, and they are better than ever. The group, which disbanded after lead singer Marty Raybon left the group in the late '90s, reunited in 2000, without Raybon, releasing a couple of albums and touring all over the country.

But when Raybon rejoined the group in 2014, Shenandoah realized they had the potential to attract new fans, as well as share music with their loyal fans from 30 years ago, ever since their eponymous debut album was released. The result is Reloaded, a mix of new versions of nine of their previous hits, including "The Church on Cumberland Road" and "Two Dozen Roses," along with three brand-new singles.

"It really kind of morphed into a new album, and the material that we had to come to this record was tunes that we actually had recorded," Raybon tells PopCulture.com. "We went into the studio to try and get a deal, with Jay DeMarcus producing, and the label said, 'Well, what we'd like to do is, we'd like to have some of the past hits. But, what we want is, we want them live,' which actually tickled us to death, because years and years ago, when we were at RCA and when we were at Capitol, we wanted to do a live album. At that time, live albums were not vogue. People were not buying live albums."

It was DeMarcus who reached out to Shenandoah, and offered to produce a few new songs for them, which, together with their previous hits, became part of Reloaded.

"He called me," band member Mike McGuire recalls. "Marty had been gone from the band for 17 years. We continued on without Marty for all that time, but eventually we were able to come to a point where it just felt like the right time to do this again. So Marty had come back with the band. Jay heard that Marty was back, and he called me and asked me, 'Hey, I heard a rumor that Marty was back with the band.' I said, 'Yeah, he's been back a few months.' And he said, 'Look, we're huge fans. The first song we ever did together was 'Church on Cumberland Road,' which was our first No. 1. He said, 'If Marty's really back with the band, I'd love to take you all into the studio, and see if we can't get a deal."

The idea for the new set of tunes came at least in part because of the inability of fans to get some of their biggest hits, like "I Want to Be Loved Like That," which were not available on Amazon or iTunes. But aside from making their songs available, Shenandoah realized that they never felt like their career was completed.

"We truly felt like there was something we still wanted to say," Raybon says. "We're relatively young. We still believe with our ability we can still get out there, and truly entertain people. And if we can do that, we can present new music to the point that we would allow those folks to listen to it, just like in the past. Give them the opportunity to not like it. But to present it the best that you can absolutely present it. Work as hard as you can to make your show the best that you can make it. And then go from there."

"I learned this from my dad back when I was working laying block," he continues. "Good work never goes unseen. It never goes unseen. If we apply ourselves, and have the enjoyment of doing something we truly enjoy, and be able to bring it to a new market."

Still, the iconic band understand the parameters of country music, and are more interested than sharing good music than finding themselves at the top of the charts.

"I'm not advocating we're going to be a force in this business," he says. "None of us have fooled ourselves from Day One, as far as taking over anything. In fact, years ago, just because everybody that listened to country music, and they loved country music, we were never foolish enough to believe that just because they were country music fans, that they loved Shenandoah ... We were just trying to do whatever we could do to make sure we were not only viable, but that we kept a deal of respect for the music that we all felt, and to be able to present that."

Shenandoah are currently on their 30th Anniversary Tour. Dates can be found on their website.

Reloaded is available on iTunes and Amazon.

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Reloaded Track List:
1. Next To You, Next To Me (LIVE)
2. If Bubba Can Dance, I Can Too (LIVE)
3. The Moon Over Georgia (LIVE)
4. Mama Knows (LIVE)
5. Sunday In The South (LIVE)
6. I Want To Be Loved Like That (LIVE)
7. Ghost In The House (LIVE)
8. Two Dozen Roses (LIVE)
9. The Church On Cumberland Road (LIVE)
10. Noise
11. That's Where I Grew Up
12. Little Bit of Livin

Photo Credit: Adkins Publicity