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Listen: Luke Combs & Shenandoah Refresh Shenandoah’s Classic ‘Two Dozen Roses’ [Premiere]

Billboard Magazine | Jessica Nicholson | September 21, 2023

Shenandoah & Luke Combs Michael Gomez; Jeremy Cowart

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.

Grammy-winning country band Shenandoah and reigning, two-time CMA entertainer of the year Luke Combs will release a rendition of Shenandoah’s 1989 No. 1 Hot Country Songs hit, “Two Dozen Roses,” on Friday (Sept. 22).

The collab came about after Shenandoah heard that Combs had been performing the now nearly 35-year-old hit during his concerts.

“People would send us videos of him performing the song live and we thought, ‘How cool would it be to have Luke record the song with us?'” Shenandoah lead singer Marty Raybon tells Billboard in a statement.

They joined Combs in the studio over the summer, and according to Raybon, “he sang the florist bill off of it. 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.”

The song, released by 8 Track Entertainment, was produced by Noah Gordon and recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, the same Alabama stomping grounds where Shenandoah recorded the original version of the song. “Two Dozen Roses” was written by Mac McAnally and Robert Byrne.

The song comes at a time when covers and interpolations using classic songs are abounding, including the CMA Award-winning Cole Swindell hit “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” (which interpolates the Jo Dee Messina hit “Heads Carolina, Tails California”), Combs’ own rendition of the 1988 Tracy Chapman hit “Fast Car” (Combs’ version raced to the No. 2 spot on the all-genre Hot 100 chart), and an upcoming tribute album to The Judds.

Meanwhile, Kane Brown’s latest song, “I Can Feel It,” pays homage to the Phil Collins classic “In The Air Tonight,” while Chris Young’s recent track is a nod to David Bowie’s classic “Rebel Rebel.” Americana artist Joshua Ray Walker’s recent album What Is It Even? features cover versions of a slew of female pop hits.

Shenandoah formed in Muscle Shoals in 1984, and issued their self-titled debut in 1987. In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Shenandoah notched five chart-topping Hot Country Songs hits (including “Two Dozen Roses” and “Next to You, Next to Me,” among others), and 15 top 10 hits on the same chart, with hits including the Grammy-winning Alison Krauss duet “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart,” as well as “Church on the Cumberland Road,” “Ghost in this House,” and “I Want to Be Loved Like That.”

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