Shenandoah’s Marty Raybon Discusses Alcohol Addiction: ‘I Felt Like I Could Die’
Today, country group Shenandoah are enjoying a resurgence of new music, including three brand-new songs -- "Noise," "That's Where I Grew Up" and "Little Bit of Living," all produced by Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus -- as well as a live album, Reloaded, which features performances of some of the group's greatest '90s hits. However, things haven't always been easy for the band. Singer Marty Raybon has struggled with an alcohol use disorder that hampered his career and personal life, according to a new article by the Tennessean.
"I felt like I could die," Raybon explains, recalling a time when he stumbled downstairs to his basement, where he'd hidden a case of beer from his wife. "I pulled that milking stool up, tore the cardboard open and had the audacity to ask myself, 'If I died, would I go to heaven?' And I realized the answer was I was going to bust hell wide open."
The singer goes on to say that his relationship with alcohol had been problematic from the beginning. "I was raised right, I just didn't do right," he continues. "From the time I started drinking until I was 31 years old, I probably spilled more liquor than most people my age had drank. How could you have a career and do that?"
Raybon's struggle with alcohol addiction came to a head at the height of his career with Shenandoah, as the band notched hit after hit with songs such as "Two Dozen Roses," "Sunday in the South" and "Next to You, Next to Me." It wasn't until he'd been sober for roughly six years that Raybon left the group at the end of 1997. For the following two decades, Shenandoah remained dormant, and it wasn't until DeMarcus entered the picture as a producer that Raybon decided to reconnect with fellow founding member Mike McGuire.
The group is slotted to headline the 2018 Christmas 4 Kids Benefit at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on Monday evening (Nov. 19), as part of a special organization dedicated to providing a Christmas celebration for children in the middle Tennessee community who might not otherwise get a chance to celebrate the holiday. But the members of Shenandoah are no strangers to giving back. In his sobriety, Raybon has worked extensively with counseling organizations focused on those struggling with addiction. The Tennessean reports that he often visits those dealing with substance abuse privately, and also recently played an acoustic set at Cumberland Heights Nashville Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center.
"Everybody's got problems," the singer goes on to say. "But the one thing I have learned more than anything else in the world is that it doesn't make anyone a terrible person because they've gone through a bad time in their life. It's just that for some people, the potholes are deeper. It's just someone who needs a little more loving on."
Marty Raybon Discusses Shenandoah's New Single, "Noise"