on image for publication quality photo
BLUEGRASS SINGER MARTY RAYBON HEADLINES AT COLUMBIA MAY 20
HAMMOND -- Bluegrass crooner
Marty Raybon, who has been described as “a singer who looks beyond words
and music to uncover the essence of a great song,” is coming to Southeastern
Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts Thursday,
Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert
are $25, Orchestra 1 and Loge; $23, Orchestra 2; and $20, Balcony 1. Tickets
will be on sale weekdays May 14-20, and can be purchased at the theater
box office (985-543-4371, 220 E. Thomas St.), or online through TicketWeb
(www.ticketweb.com). Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m.
Country music fans knew Raybon
as the award-winning lead singer of Shenandoah, whose number one hit "The
Church On Cumberland Road" helped the group rise high on the tide of the
late 80s and early 90s country boom. After 10 years, Raybon has come “Full
Circle” – as his latest recording’s title attests – with his first bluegrass
release, an album the critics are calling “a top-notch return to his roots.”
“What I want out of life,” Raybon
said, “is to do some things that bring honor and glory to the Lord, and
to do some things that bring some joy and some peace to me as well. Making
‘Full Circle’ was something that was burning in my heart to do.”
Raybon has had a musical affinity
for bluegrass since he was a teenager in Florida in the early 1970s. “I'd
sit in school, and I would draw the Bluegrass Unlimited logo or the peghead
of Monroe's mandolin in my notebook,” he said. Before long, he was performing
as a member of the American Bluegrass Express with his dad Ken and brothers
Tim and Rick. The Express made its first recording in1975, when Raybon
was still in high school, becoming one of the first Florida-based acts
to travel widely beyond their home state.
The grind of part-time playing
and full-time work eventually took its toll on the American Bluegrass Express,
and inspired by the success of bluegrasser-turned-country-star Ricky Skaggs,
Raybon headed for Nashville in 1984. The next year he scored a publishing
deal and joined the band that would eventually become Shenandoah.
Shenandoah framed Raybon's smoky
voice with bluegrass-tinged harmonies and crisp contemporary instrumentation
on hits like “The Church On Cumberland Road.” Named the Academy of Country
Music's Top Vocal Group for 1990, they helped pave the way to prominence
for bluegrass diva Alison Krauss, as their duet, “Somewhere in the Vicinity
of the Heart,” hit the Top 10 in late 1994 and earned Country Music Association
and Grammy awards the following year.
Despite the group's success,
Raybon's growing spirituality and creative restlessness eventually led
him to branch out. Over the next several years, he recorded an album with
his brother Tim, a solo country CD and several gospel albums.
"When Tim and I were doing 'Butterfly
Kisses,' he said, 'Marty, there are some things going on with bluegrass
right now, you need to do a bluegrass album,’” Raybon said. “And after
thinking about it, I decided I was going to do it."
In April 2002, a team of bluegrass
musicians – banjo man David Talbot, guitar and mandolin virtuoso Bryan
Sutton, Donnie Allen on rhythm guitar, fiddler Shad Cobb, Rob Ickes on
Dobro, and bassist Terry Smith – recorded the tracks for “Full Circle”
with singers Paul Brewster and Tim Raybon nailing down the harmonies.
With the release of “Full Circle,”
Raybon has turned his attention to completing his return to the bluegrass
community through personal appearances.
For additional information about
his Columbia 2004 concert, contact the theater at 985-543-4366 or visit