CD Review: At His Best Marty Raybon

Marty Raybon, with roots in the group Shenandoah, is an accomplished musician playing with good back-up musicians.  He has a pleasing voice clearly suited to bluegrass or country music.  He began playing bluegrass as a youngster. He was the lead singer of  Shenandoah for 11 years.  His group had 22 singles on the Billboard charts, some of which went to #1 on the Country charts.  He has had a number of solo CDs.

Which raises the question–what was Mr. Raybon thinking when he recorded his album At His Best?  According to Mr. Raybon, the album was to be a cross between a “male Alison Krauss and a Dixie Chicks record…..”  At His Best is a showcase of talent, quality, and discipline, with nothing interesting to show for it.  It brings to mind the complaint many of us have regarding the current country music scene—it’s the same song, over and over, with little to remember, no tune to hum, but done very nicely indeed.  It is a lovely package with minimal content inside.

“I Don’t Want To Lose You, Anna”

Nashville has the talent and engineers to put out a great sounding recording, but they and Mr. Raybon need to pay attention to the two requirements for good songs—a good tune, and memorable words.  With each succeeding song I listened to on the CD, I hoped the next one would stand out, but was disappointed.  In addition to talent and craftsmanship, the creator must add a spark that brings the song into the mind and ear of the listener—and which makes them actually plug into the melody/words.  In a world with piles of music in CDs, computer downloads, Pandora, XM radio, etc., to reach and catch the listeners interest there must be that “spark” that brings the music alive—and that was unfortunately  missing here.  It is sad to see real talent put out such a mundane package of bland county fare.

Hi-Five/Grand Vista Records

Ed Schaffer

Ed Schaffer started his meteoric career playing the violin at the age of 5, picked up a few other instruments thereafter, but later in life found his true love, the mandolin. Despite having a day job, his avocation of playing first classical, then high school band and chorus, then folk, then rock and eventually bluegrass music, is first in his heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *