Marty Raybon of Shenandoah Talks to Rocking God’s House

Josh Bechler Writer for Rocking God's House

[Shenandoah’s 2015 tour dates have been added to the bottom of this article.]

Marty Raybon is in my opinion — and many others would agree — the greatest living country music and gospel bluegrass singer alive. Gary LeVox, vocalist of Rascall Flatts, calls him, “The greatest singer on the planet to this day.” Country star Josh Turner said, “One of the best soul singers in music. He gets inside a song and turns it inside out.”
Marty Raybon’s career spans over three decades. Throughout his career he has produced an incredible list of number one hits with his former band Shenandoah: top selling albums, CMA, ACM, IBMA, and Grammy Awards — to name a few.

Marty left the world of secular country music more than a decade ago to pursue music in his own way and on his own terms. He went back to where it all began. His roots are in bluegrass and Gospel music, so he created the band Marty Raybon and Full Circle. The name is a tribute to where he is going and where he has been. This past year Marty and his band released their latest bluegrass album The Back Forty to great success (including his first IBMA award). His transition into bluegrass was appreciated and accepted just as much as when he was the leader of a successful country group at the top of the country charts. It just goes to show that if you have enough determination and keep your eyes focused on Jesus, anything is truly possible.

Congratulations on your First IBMA award! Can you tell us about it?

It was really pretty touching, to be honest with you . Because “Beulah Land” was a song that I have sang all of my career, even when I was with Shenandoah. Down through the years it has always been a much requested song in our program. It had a great deal of impact on people. You always kind of hope your song wins, but when we did, it was a little bit of a surprise that it won. We were very excited about the song, what it says, and what it promises about a place called Beulah. I think people like it so much because the song talks about Heaven and where our love ones are.

Can you give us some insight about the album Back Forty?

The album was released in March of last year. The first single Janie Baker went number one. We were really excited about that. It has received great reviews and has had success on the Billboard Charts. The sales have been really good and the downloads have been terrific. This whole album has had a warm reception. People enjoy the album and feel like it is pretty solid top to bottom.

Are you touring?

Yes, we have started right after New Year’s. We are getting geared up for the festival season that is just around the corner. We have a full spring and summer tour and we are ready and really looking forward to it.

Tell us about the church you built in Costa Rica?

My wife and I had teamed up with an Organization called ICM (International Cooperating Ministries), and what they do is they make all the arrangements and help church people in Latin America help build their church. The people have a kinship to the building they have helped build and are able to go to a place and celebrate and worship the Lord. Together with our fans we were able to raise enough money to build them a church. We were really thrilled and grateful to be able to do that — to help people share the word of our Lord and have fellowship in their own special place.

Will you ever record a bluegrass version of your country hit “Two Dozen Roses?” That is my favorite song.

Thank you. We play a lot of the old Shenandoah songs with our bluegrass spin on it. We regularly perform “Ghost In The House,” “Next To You, Next To Me,” “Church On Cumberland Road,” as well as “Two Dozen Roses.” We as a group plan on eventually one day recording a bluegrass album of all the old Shenandoah hits. No date is set yet. But I am pretty sure in the future we will get around to doing it for all of our fans to enjoy. But right now we perform them regularly in our sets every time we perform.

Shenandoah Reloaded With Marty Raybon 2015 Tour Dates:
March 6 – Chester, WV – Chrome Nite Club
March 7 – St. Marys, PA – St. Marys High School
April 11 – Mt. Vernon, KY – New Barn Theatre
May 8 – Abilene, TX – Rhinestone Roundup
May 9 – Lindsay, TX – Outlaws and Legends Dancehall and Saloon
May 10 – Corpus Christi, TX – Roberts Point Park Pavillon
May 16 – Sheffield, AL – Sheffield Street Dance
May 20 – Wheeling, WV – WesBanco Arena
June 12 – Nashville, TN – Nashville Palace
July 3 – Pigeon Forge, TN – Country Tonite Theatre
July 18 – Forsyth, MT – Rosebud-Treasure County Fair
July 23 – Columbus, OH – Musicians Against Childhood Cancer Bluegrass Festival
July 31 – Barton Creek, TX – Country Club
August 1 – Dodge City, KS – Central Station
September 12 – Morehead, KY – Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival
September 16 – Abingdon, VA – Washington County Fair
October 24 – Perry, FL – Forest Festival
November 13 – Wilkesboro, NC – Merlefest
November 14 – Elizabethtown, KY – State Theater