Photo left:  The original lineup as depicted in Modern Screen's Country Music magazine, August 1994. Top, L-R: Stan Thorn, Marty Raybon, Jim Seales. Bottom: Mike McGuire (left) and Ralph Ezell.

1993 Inductee Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Most country groups of the '80s favored a commercial pop-oriented approach that alienated many traditional listeners, but captured the ear of the mainstream. Shenandoah was one of the first groups to rebel against the Urban Cowboy image of the '80s and lead the way to the new traditionalism of the '90s. Initially formed in 1985 as a house band in Muscle Shoals, AL, it comprised vocalist Marty Raybon, guitarist Jim Seales, keyboard player Stan Thorn, bassist Ralph Ezell and drummer Mike McGuire. All the members of Shenanoah were working at FAME Studios as musicians or songwriters. One night, McGuire invited his friend, songwriter Robert Byrne, to come and watch the MGM band. He was impressed enough to play the group to producer Rick Hall who with Byrne recorded the group and help them secure a deal with CBS Records, who christened and signed Shenandoah.

The group's self-titled album, released in 1987, leaned a little close to the pop-schmaltz they later rebelled against, though they reached the Country Top 30 early in 1988 with "Stop the Rain." The following year, Road Not Taken outlined the group's approach to traditional country and became their most successful album; six singles reached the Country Top Ten, led by the number ones "The Church on Cumberland Road," "Sunday in the South" and "Two Dozen Roses." Road Not Taken reached Gold status by 1991, and earned Shenandoah the Favorite Newcomer award from Music City News.

The first single from third album Extra Mile (1990) continued -- and even topped -- Shenandoah's success. "Next to You, Next to Me" became Shenandoah's biggest hit, topping the Country charts for three weeks. It was followed into the Top Ten during 1990-91 by "Ghost in This House," "I Got You" and "The Moon over Georgia." The group's streak of hit singles ended with the mere Top 40 "When You Were Mine" in September 1991.

Despite the success, trouble was brewing. Three other bands came forward in 1991 claiming the Shenandoah name, and the resulting court costs and legal fees bankrupted the group by the end of the year. To make it even worse, CBS -- who had named Shenandoah in the first place -- dropped the group from its roster. The band settled the differences by 1992, and returned to country music with a contract from RCA and the number-two hit "Rock My Baby" in April of that year. Shenandoah's fourth album, Long Time Comin', also featured the Top 15 "Leavin's Been a Long Time Comin'."

Fifth album Under the Kudzu (1993) continued Shenandoah's popularity, with the Top Five single "I Want to Be Loved like That" and the group's fifth Country chart-topper in early 1994, "If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)." Shenandoah moved to Liberty-Capitol in late 1994 for their sixth album, In the Vicinity of the Heart. The album was released in January 1995, and featured the Top Tens "Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart" (with Alison Krauss) and "Darned If I Don't (Danged If I Do)." Shenandoah returned to its roots in 1996 for Now and Then, which combined re-recorded versions of CBS singles with four new songs. -- John Bush

Shenandoah won the Nashville Network's Viewers' Choice Award, and Cashbox's Country Vocal Group Award in 1989, and in 1991 were named "Vocal Group of the Year" by the Academy of Country Music.

Marty Raybon Birthday: 12/8/59 Place of Birth: Sanford, Florida First Musical Performance: Third grade talent show. Performed "The Battle of New Orleans" First "Day" Job: Masonry Musical Influences: George Jones, Merle Haggard, Phil Collins, The Eagles, Alabama Favorite Place: The beach Favorite Vehicle: Chevy S-10 truck and a Murray riding lawnmower.

Mike McGuire Birthday: 12/28/58 Place of Birth: Haleyville, AL First Musical Performance: Played with a local band in the high school gym Musical Influences: Ronnie Milsap, Hank Williams, Gordon Lightfoot, Dave Loggins, Weather Report, Eagles, Boston, Beatles Favorite Things To Do In Spare Time: Gold, work on computer, write songs, watch football and baseball.

Ralph Ezell Birthday: 6/26/53 Place of Birth: Union, MS First Musical Performance: Piano recital at age 10 Musical Influences: Ray Price, Little Feat, Led Zepplin, Weather Report Favorite Things To Do In Spare Time: Work in the garden, work on cars Pet Peeves: Litter and informercials

Jim Seales Birthday: 3/20/54 Place of Birth: Hamilton, AL First Paying Non-Music Job: Paperboy Musical Influences: Steve Wariner, Paul Rodgers, Cream, Yardbirds, Jeff Beck, Jerry Douglas Favorite Book" Grapes of Wrath Favorite Thing To Do In Spare Time: Writing programs for children on computer Favorite Restaurant: Our kitchen!

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

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