Long-time country music fans have most certainly heard of – and been supporters of – the Grammy Award-winning band Shenandoah and its frontman Marty Raybon. After all, they are one of the most popular country music groups of all time since it was formed in 1984 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Some of Shenandoah’s greatest hits are “The Church on Cumberland Road,” “Next to You, Next to Me,” “Rock My Baby,” “The Church on Cumberland Road,” “Sunday in the South,” “Two Dozen Roses,” “She Doesn’t Cry Anymore,” and “Mama Knows.” The band has enjoyed success with thirteen studio albums.
Of course, that would not be possible without Raybon’s remarkable vocal skills. So, let’s get to know more about him. Here are some facts about Marty Raybon that you may not have heard before.
1. He’s a native of Greenville, Alabama.
Born December 8, 1959, Marty Raybon had been in his father’s bluegrass band – called American Bluegrass Express, as well as Heartbreak Mountain – since childhood. He was only eight when he first appeared on a local talent show.
2. His musical aspirations grew even bigger after hearing a Mel Street song.
Raybon was only fifteen, raking leaves in their front yard, when he first heard Mel Street’s “Looking Out My Window Through the Pain” over the radio in his sister’s car. Raybon recalled how the song made him stop raking and sit down in the car to listen to it. He was there in awe!
It was then that he realized, “that is what I want to do. I want to make people feel that way.” Five years later, he began to focus on pursuing his calling and performed with different club bands.
3. He helped form the Alabama-based country band Shenandoah.
In 1984, Raybon joined guitarist Jim Seales, drummer McGuire, bassist Ralph Ezell, and keyboard man Stan Thorn – and began playing as the MGC Band. However, the label believed the band name could lead to legal problems.
So, they chose between two names: Rhythm Rangers and Shenandoah. Raybon went for the latter, thinking that Rhythm Rangers “sounded like an amateur band.”
4. He pursued a career as a solo artist.
While it was hard to believe, Shenandoah disbanded in 1997, and Raybon sold the naming rights. Three years later, he released a second solo album and charted his only solo country chart hit, “Cracker Jack Diamond.”
5. He has overcome alcoholism.
In 1991, Raybon became a born-again Christian. However, after his father’s death in 2005, he went through a bout of depression that pushed him away from God.
Eventually, he realized he was becoming exactly the opposite of his loving father. So, he cried out to God and quit smoking and drinking on the same day. Since then, Raybon has not touched a drink, nor has he had a desire to.
These facts about Marty Raybon truly prove that he is one amazing artist.
Marty Raybon, Shenandoah