Shenan­doah still go­ing the ex­tra mile

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - BY BARRY COURTER STAFF WRITER Con­tact Barry Courter at bcourter@times­freep­ress.com or 423-757-6354.

Back in t he day, it wasn’t all that un­usual for a singer or band to pile into a van or car and hit the road, stop­ping by ra­dio sta­tions and the oc­ca­sional news­pa­per of­fice to do a lit­tle guerilla mar­ket­ing for their work.

Typ­i­cally, it was the new­com­ers hop­ing to get their prod­uct and name in front of new au­di­ences. Guys like Marty Ray­bon, artists who have a long and strong re­sume of work, rarely make such trips th­ese days. But Ray­bon made such a trip last month, stop­ping by the pa­per for a visit.

Ray­bon is best-known as the l ead singer for Shenan­doah, but he also had a big hit with “But­ter­fly Kisses” with his brother, Tim.

While here, Ray­bon shook hands and talked with ev­ery­body he en­coun­tered and seemed gen­uinely happy to be do­ing so. He was here to talk about Satur­day night’s show, Aug. 25, at The Tivoli and how much fun he is hav­ing singing with the group again.

He sang lead for the group from 1987 to 1997, when he left to pur­sue a solo ca­reer, then re­turned in 2014. They launched their 30th an­niver­sary tour last year and also recorded a new Christ­mas song, as well.

“I’m hav­ing so much fun,” he said.

“Peo­ple keep telling us, ‘You guys sound like you never quit. You’ve picked up where you left off.”

Whether per­form­ing with Shenan­doah or as a solo artist, Ray­bon says he has op­er­ated un­der a sin­gle phi­los­o­phy ever since a par­tic­u­lar show with the band many years ago. A cou­ple ap­proached the band after the show dur­ing a meet-and-greet and told them they had fore­gone pay­ing their light bill to be able to at­tend the show.

“We started talk­ing about that on the bus,” Ray­bon said. “We talked about it for quite awhile. It re­ally stuck with us. When some­one comes to see you, it’s not al­ways a con­ve­nience. They are mak­ing a com­mit­ment.

“It has to be about the fans, and we don’t have any idea what is go­ing on in their lives.”

Ray­bon s ays s i nce re­join­ing the group, he is en­joy­ing per­form­ing and tour­ing be­cause of the old and new fans he meets. Shenan­doah au­di­ences are filled with peo­ple who have lis­tened since the begin­ning and new ones.

“Young peo­ple will come up and say, ‘We had your tape in the car and lis­tened to it on the way to school or soc­cer.’ That’s pretty cool.”

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Shenan­doah stops in Chat­tanooga Satur­day night at the Tivoli Theatre.

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