After a 17-year break from the band, Shenandoah, lead singer Marty Raybon is back performing with the group in a reboot of sorts, along with original member Mark McGuire.
With the resurgence of popularity of groups from the 80s and 90s, many venues are taking the opportunity to book groups such as Shenandoah. Fiddlestrings Sports Bar, 3301 Arden Road, has booked them to perform as the opening act for its annual Summer String Thing acoustic series Tuesday.
Shenandoah will hit the San Angelo stage Tuesday after a weekend in Las Vegas, where they attended the Academy of Country Music Awards show as a group for the first time in a couple of decades. They also performed at a post-awards show.
“We haven’t been to the ACMs since we won ‘Best Vocal Group’ in 1992.” Raybon said.
It’s not the first time they’ve been to San Angelo either, Raybon said. In fact, in their heyday, they performed during the San Angelo Rodeo and at other local venues when they began touring.
About the Shenandoah reboot, Raybon said, “We’ve heard folks say they missed the Shenandoah thing the more we get out there. There’s a lot of folks talking about the music of that era.”
Shenandoah is known for their hits, “Two Dozen Roses,” “I Want to be Loved Like That,” and “Next to You.”
The group is also enjoying generational fans, parents and children coming to their shows together, each enjoying their tunes.
“A lot of people are coming with their children. Kids are bringing their Mom and Dad to the shows.” Raybon said. “We’re finding a younger crowd coming. It continues to show you that it continues to build.”
“I strongly believe music will make you laugh, music will make you cry.” Raybon said. “It’ll move you.”
Raybon said in a setting such as the Fiddlestrings stage, it’s more personal and gives not only fans an opportunity to see musicians up close and personal, it allows the band to see its fans and their reactions.
“I like when you can look at people in the face, see their eyes, hear what they’re saying,” he said. “You can have conversations. I like those settings. I think it’s smart to build bridges with the people from the front of the stage. A lot of the time, those settings allows you to let people know some things about you.”
He said getting out in front and meeting fans at merchandise tables or album signings, particularly in the beginning of the band’s career helped sell shows, albums and allow needed interaction. They haven’t changed that perspective and they continue that practice today.
“I think personable is an awfully good thing to be.” Raybon said. “We’ve always had a pact that we’d sign things and meet people.”
Raybon strongly believes that his faith in God and God’s providence has guided him through his career, even through the break from Shenandoah and his way back to the group.
“I truly do believe that the Lord was leading me in a different direction,” he said. “I serve Him before I do anything else.”
He has no regrets leaving for his own good, saying there came a point where, he feels, they all burnt out. With the constant touring and quick success, he said, there was never time to stop and enjoy the ride.
“There were times, if we won anything, we couldn’t enjoy it.” Raybon said. “We were either on a tour bus or a plane going to the next show. I think we missed opportunities.”
Now, however, they are taking the opportunity to show the music world that they’re not quite done with the ride.
Summer String Thing opener
What: Shenandoah, live on stage
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Fiddlestrings, 3301 Arden Road