Now, that’s an almost impossible question to answer because there are so many good options. Scroll through the thread and you’ll see great answers like Daryle Singletary, Rick Trevino, Collin Raye, Pam Tillis…and you could make a case for any of them.
But one group immediately popped into my head when I saw the question: Shenandoah.
Founded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 1984 by lead singer Marty Raybon, along with Ralph Ezell, Stan Thorn, Jim Seales, and Mike McGuire, the band actually broke out in the mainstream country scene in the late ’80s, with 3 of their 5 number one hits coming in 1989.
But they were at the peak of their popularity in the ’90s coming off of some absolutely incredible hits.
Obviously their biggest hit was probably “Two Dozen Roses,” a song that I would argue has had somewhat of a resurgence lately as people seemed to re-discover what a classic it really is.
And then of course there’s the honky tonk heater, “Church on Cumberland Road.”
And “Next To You, Next To Me.”
But the thing that really sets Shenandoah apart for me is lead singer Marty Raybon’s unique, absolutely incredible voice that sounds like it was just tailor-made for sad country music.
It’s a voice that really shines through on songs like “Ghost In This House.”
But my all-time favorite Shenandoah song, and one of my favorite ’90s country songs in general, is “The Moon Over Georgia.”
Powered by Raybon’s incredible voice, Shenandoah manages to present such vivid imagery in the song, with lines like this one:
“Shadow dancing till dawn with a full moon shining And those occasional clouds all have a silver lining There really must be something about that old yellow light”
And lines like this one from “Sunday in The South”:
“A ragged rebel flag flies high above it all Poppin’ in the wind like an angry cannonball And now the holes of history are cold and still But they still smell the powder burnin’ And they prob’ly always will”
Throw in some of their other singles that didn’t reach #1, like “When You Were Mine” and “Janie Baker’s Love Slave,” along with album cuts like “She’s All I’ve Got Going” and “Same Old Heart” and I’d put Shenandoah’s catalog up against just about any other artist of the ’90s for songs that I still love to this day.
And for that, it’s time that they finally get the respect they deserve as one of the best acts of ’90s country.