Gary LeVox’s Favorite Singer: Surprise!


Rascal Flatts makes a surprise appearance and performs at the Nightly Concert on the Vault Concert Stage LP Field Thursday, June 5 in Downtown Nashville during the 2008 CMA Music Festival. Photo courtesy of the Country Music Association.

Jan. 7, 2009 — When country stars are asked to name their favorite singers, the answers are usually predictable: George Jones, Merle Haggard, George Strait?

But the guy Rascal Flatts’ Gary LeVox singles out as "hands down my favorite singer of all-time" is one that comes as a bit of a surprise. Gary’s a major fan of Marty Raybon, who got established as the lead singer for Shenandoah in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. The band was known for such hits as "Two Dozen Roses," "The Church On Cumberland Road" and "Next To Me, Next To You."

"The good Lord put him on this earth for one reason, and I get to hear it on the radio," Gary told Country Aircheck. "There is a tear in Marty’s voice that touches your inner being like nothing else. The harmonies are spectacular, and no one can deliver a song like them. I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘I like country music because of the stories,’ and no one could tell them like Shenandoah."

Both Gary and Marty ran through Nashville’s historic Printers Alley on their way up. Gary and his Flatts partners, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus, all performed together for the first time at a club on that downtown stretch. Before he joined Shenandoah, Marty used to work the same district with a band called Heartbreak Mountain.

Gary and Rascal Flatts are slated to appear Wednesday on the CBS telecast of the 35th annual People’s Choice Awards, along with Jewel and Carrie Underwood.