It’s been more than 20 years since the musicians of the country band Shenandoah have made their guitar strings hum in harmony, but all that changes on Saturday, Nov. 24, when they hit the stage at The Caverns in Pelham to perform some Christmas tunes, some of their greatest hits and even some new songs they’ve recently produced.
Shenandoah began making country music together in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, in 1984. The band’s sound soon caught on within the music industry. Their debut album was released in 1987, and their traditional country sound landed them several spots within the top 10 hit list, including a few number one spots. A few of their most popular songs include: “The Church on Cumberland,” “Sunday in the South” and “Two Dozen Roses.”
Despite a 20-year gap in between albums, Shenandoah is continuing their traditional country sound with a new album that released earlier this year.
“Our music talks about real-life situations,” said lead singer Marty Raybon. “Our songs have lyrics that people can relate to and that makes an impact on them. It speaks to them; people draw from it, and they just get it.”
The band’s new album is titled “Reloaded,” and includes live recordings of some of their most iconic songs, as well as some new and revamped music. At The Caverns next weekend, Shenandoah will be performing their greatest hits and some new music for the first time.
The Caverns, located at the bottom of Monteagle Mountain in Pelham, is an underground phenomenon where spectators can get one of the most unique experiences offered. The Caverns feature a natural performance hall in which the cave walls provide ideal acoustics for the perfect sound. Lying in an almost hidden cove, the venue provides an intimate setting where spectators can listen to anything from bluegrass to funk-rock.
Todd Mayo, owner of The Caverns and producer of the “Bluegrass Underground” live music PBS television series, opened the venue earlier this year.
After hosting the series in a cave in McMinnville known at The Volcano Room, Mayo found himself searching for a more permanent venue that would allow for larger crowds and upgrade the venue’s infrastructure to include permanent power as well as professional lighting and audio equipment and an expanded menu of concessions.
In an interview with Tempo magazine earlier this year, Mayo said the process of transforming the cave into a performance space was completed thoughtfully, to ensure the new space met his needs and expectations without damaging the cave system structurally or environmentally.
“There were a lot of ‘gists’ such as geologist, biologist, archeologist and hydrologists,” he said. “We had to go in from a geological perspective and see if we could excavate. We didn’t use any dynamite, all we did was move dirt out of the caverns. But before we drilled, we went in with cameras to find where the floor was. We just dug until we got to the rock, and once we got to the rock, we just left it alone.”
Raybon said he and his band mates, including guitarist Jim Seales, drummer Mike McGuire, bassist Ralph Ezell and keyboardist Stan Thorn, are looking forward to experiencing the acoustics and atmosphere of The Caverns for themselves.
“We are really excited to perform at The Caverns,” stated Raybon. “We’ve never played in a cave before, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Other artists have commented on how good it sounds underground. It’s going to be a new experience that I can’t wait to share with fans.”
Shenandoah’s underground performance will include traditional Christmas songs, some top hits and some new tunes that debuted this year.
“We’re truly looking forward to and cannot wait for this show,” said Raybon. “We want folks to come out and enjoy some seasonal songs as well as the hits.”
While the group will be in Pelham for one afternoon only, the band members are determined to make sure it will be a spectacular performance.
“We know that people have to give up something to come see our show,” said Raybon. “It’s because of that sacrifice that they make to come see us, we do everything we can to make sure they have a good time. We don’t take it for granted, and if we can provide a distraction from life’s everyday problems, then that’s what we want to do for our audience.”
Even though it’s been two decades since Shenandoah’s last album, the group is locked and “reloaded,” making new music for their fans. The group is currently working on its next album, expected to come out in 2019. As Shenandoah would say, do a “Little Bit of Livin’” and head out to The Caverns to let your troubles drift away for a few hours.
For more information on Shenandoah and upcoming performance dates, visit www.shenandoahband.com.
For more information on The Caverns, including ticket purchases, directions and package deals, visit www.thecaverns.com.
Faith Few can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.