“Iconic group. Iconic song. Complete honor to sing on this one, Shenandoah! Thank y’all for having me,” shared Luke Combs.
Shenandoah lead singer Marty Raybon delivers the opening lyrics of “Two Dozen Roses” with his signature sound that helped establish the style of ’80s and ’90s country music, influencing a new generation of artists like Combs. Complementing Raybon’s emotive vocals, Combs takes the second verse, bringing his unique edge to the classic, which he has included in his own concert setlist.
Billboard exclusively premiered the first listen to “Two Dozen Roses,” produced by GRAMMY® winning engineer Noah Gordon and recorded at the historic Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, where the original version was recorded and the longtime home to founding members Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire.
“As collaborations and interpolations of classic hits pile up in the country music genre, an iconic ’90s country group and one of country music’s current biggest stars are teaming up to refresh a ’90s country classic,” writes Billboard’s Jessica Nicholson.
On the song written by Mac McAnally and Robert Byrne, Raybon explained to Billboard, “It appears ‘Two Dozen Roses’ is as big as it ever was and having Luke’s vocal on there just proves the timelessness of what folks have felt about this song for years.”
“Two Dozen Roses” follows Shenandoah’s 2020 album, Every Road, which featured collaborations with Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Ashley McBryde, Dierks Bentley, Lady A, Zac Brown Band, Carly Pearce, Cody Johnson and Brad Paisley. Garnering national attention from “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” People, Rolling Stone Country and more, Every Road marked the group’s 10th studio album, after notching 13 No. 1 hits, charting 26 singles on Billboard country charts and accumulating over 300 million on demand streams.
Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire formed Shenandoah in 1984 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with bassist Ralph Ezell, keyboardist Stan Thorn and guitarist Jim Seales. Shenandoah inked a deal with Columbia Records and began establishing a national fan base with their self-titled debut in 1987. However, it was the band’s sophomore effort, The Road Not Taken, that spawned their first top ten hits, “She Doesn’t Cry Anymore” and “Mama Knows.”
The group followed with three consecutive No. 1 hits, “Church on Cumberland Road,” “Sunday in the South” and “Two Dozen Roses.” “The Church on Cumberland Road” spent two weeks at the top of the chart and made country music history as it marked the first time that a country band’s first No. 1 single spent more than one week at the summit. It also helped propel sales of the album to more than half a million units thus giving Shenandoah their first gold album.
Shenandoah became known for delivering songs that celebrated the importance of faith and family while reveling in the joys of small town life. “Next to You, Next to Me” topped the charts for three weeks and “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart,” a beautiful duet with Alison Krauss, won a Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the year and a GRAMMY® for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Shenandoah also won the Academy of Country Music’s Vocal Group of the Year in 1991.
The group currently consists of original members Marty Raybon (lead), Mike McGuire (drums) along with Paul Sanders (bass), Donnie Allen (acoustic guitar/fiddle), Andrew Ishee (keys), Nicky V Hines (guitar).