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Reloaded: Shenandoah takes Russellville stage July 4

It’s been five years since Marty Raybon rejoined the band that originally formed in Muscle Shoals in 1985, after his 17-year hiatus. It was last year that Shenandoah released its first new music in 20 years with the album Reloaded. As far as dates and timespans are concerned, though, there’s only one that likely matters to Franklin County: eight days. In about a week, Shenandoah will light up the Russellville stage as the headlining band at Jam on Sloss Lake July 4.

“We’re looking forward to being in Russellville,” said Raybon, lead singer for the band with 13 No. 1 hits and 26 charted singles on the Billboard Hot Country charts. “We don’t get a chance to play in the state of Alabama as much as we would like. We’re grateful to be able to run all over the country and play music and display some of the blessings we’ve got when it comes to tunes we’ve had pitched to us.”

Shenandoah is on its 30th anniversary tour – a celebration the band extended because of popular demand and packed-out shows. Raybon said the band is looking forward to bring old favorites – like “Next to You, Next to Me” and “Two Dozen Roses” – to the Russellville stage along with new singles “Noise,” “That’s Where I Grew Up” and “Little Bit of Livin.’”

“If we can keep people’s attention and keep them involved in the show, then we’ve done what we came to do – to entertain people,” said Raybon, who said the band will set out to “present a high-energy show for the audience and allow them to get involved, to sing and to hoot and holler.” “We’ve seen people who came who were a part of the show instead of just witnessing it. It just makes it a whole lot more fun for everybody involved.”

Shenandoah will take the stage about 8 p.m., but as always at Jam on Sloss Lake, the day will be packed with plenty of entertainment leading up to the headliner.

A car show will kick the day off at 7:30 a.m., accompanied by performances from Buford Parker, Jacob Green, Joseph Baldwin, Travis Womack and Southband. Afternoon bands include Purpose at 4 p.m., the KGB at 4:50 p.m., Rewind at 5:50 p.m. and 3 Wheel Drive at 6:50 p.m.

For Shenandoah, Raybon said, getting in front of the fans to debut new songs as well as play the longtime favorites has been “a wonderfully pleasant experience.”

“There’s nothing like being able to jump up there on stage and do those tunes you did years ago and show people the enthusiasm you have for them, and people turn right back around and show their enthusiasm back,” Raybon said. “Music is a very emotional thing. You have to make people laugh or make people cry. You have to move them. That’s what we try to do.”

With the new album, Reloaded, and the anniversary tour, Raybon said he and the band wanted to “celebrate 30 years of being in country music and show folks we still love performing and we still love presenting new music. We love running up and down the road and entertaining people.”

When the band runs down the road to Russellville, so close to where it had its beginnings in the Shoals, it will find itself back among friends and homefolks. Raybon said with that kind of audience expected, the band will definitely be looking to “show out.”

“I would encourage folks to come out. It’s going to be a really good night of family-fun entertainment,” he said. “We’re going to do the best we can to show out a little bit. We’re going to have kinfolks there and friends, so we’re going to show out. We just want folks to come and have fun with us.”

Shenandoah will have albums, T-shirts and caps available for purchase.

Topping off the evening, fireworks are slated for 9:30 p.m.

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