Shenandoah Is Back – Christmas Comes Alive!
[Note: Shenandoah’s 2015 tour dates have been added to the bottom of this article. See their official site, linked below, for more detail.]
Shenandoah (with original vocalist Marty Raybon) is back! And if that fact alone wasn’t fantastic enough, there’s more: they’ve recorded a Christmas EP.
Christmas Comes Alive will become available in limited autographed edition on December 10th via the band’s website http://www.shenandoahband.com/
It is also available on iTunes.
The Christmas EP marks the first Shenandoah recording with original vocalist Marty Raybon in 17 years, and it includes some original tunes from the reunited Shenandoah just in time for Christmas — talk about a great Christmas present for music fans!
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Christmas Comes Alive
The First Noel
Good Ole Fashioned Christmas
The Family Tree
Lullabies in Bethlehem
In the midst of a reunion tour 17 years in the making, an extensive touring schedule and an album thrown in, I had to ask Marty Raybon how it all came about — and on his birthday, no less:
Happy Birthday, Marty! What are you doing to celebrate?
[Laughs] I appreciate that, thank you. Actually, I am preaching revival this week. I started last night, and I am going to go back down there tonight. I am at Trinity Baptist Church this week. That is pretty much the way I am celebrating — that is a good way to celebrate it actually.
Tell us about the new Christmas EP Christmas Comes Alive.
It had started after we had done a couple of dates in Canada. Here, back in the first of November and after that, we were on the airplane flying back to the United States, and we boarded the plane. Somebody made the statement that we need to go in there and do some recording, and then someone said what we need to do is a Christmas record. Of course, normally you do Christmas records in July and August. But when you go in November to record a Christmas record, and then realize your peak time is going to be before Thanksgiving, that is when you realize that everything is going to be fired up and here you are three days into November and we didn’t have very much time. Then Chris Lucas our bass player — and man he is really social media savvy — and he said if we can get this done, we can fire down on this thing enough that we can get the word out; and me and Mike looked at each other, and I said you know what, more than anything we can keep making ripples in the water for 2015 that we are going to get into, and just cause more stir and a little more ground swell as far as getting out there and ready for 2015. This is an opportunity for us to tell folks that we are off and running and what better way to announce that than to say, hey, you know we have got a record.
How did you pick your song selection?
Years ago in ’96, the very last album we did together as the group Shenandoah was a Christmas record. It is kind of ironic. The thing about it is the label at that time, that we were with, they wanted an all classic all traditional album. There was four or five things literally at that time that all of us had written at one time or another, and we actually wanted to put that stuff on there, but they (the record label) wanted it to be traditional. So we did not get a chance to cut the stuff that we wanted to cut.
There is one tune on the new EP called “The Family Tree” that Mike and I wrote 25 years ago. It is kind of a play on the family tree, the Christmas Tree, but also the family tree itself. And then Bud McGuire, Mike’s brother and I, and Kim Williams had wrote a tune about 20 years ago called “Christmas Comes Alive,” and so we sort of dug out of all of these tunes that we had written, and we knew we didn’t have time to do a whole album, so why don’t we just do, what they call in the music industry, as a six-pack [laughs]. And I said, “No, we are not calling this a six-pack.” The official name for it is an EP. I said, well, let’s call it an EP; let’s not call it a six pack — a six-pack people will think about a six pack of beer [laughs], and so we only did the six. The only traditional song we did is one that we loved a lot, and Mike said this is one of my favorite Christmas songs, and let me listen to a version that Lady Antebellum did. So he sent me a YouTube version of Lady Antebellum’s version of “The First Noel.” He said if we are going to cut a traditional tune, let’s cut this one, and I was all for that. Nothing tells it better of the birth of Christ than “The First Noel.”
So realizing before next year rolls around, you know, if we can get six tunes done in the length of time that we did, and it’s now available December 10th, then surely we can get six more songs together within the length of a year.