This was written and originally recorded by John Scott Sherrill, Bob DiPiero and Dennis Robbins, who had a band called The Billy Hill Boys. Says Sherrill: "Billy was a fictitious character, and for some reason, that idea didn't really fly. The lead singer of the band was fictitious, which created all kinds of problems at radio and with gigs, but we had a ball. We put out one album with Warner Brothers and got halfway through another one. We had a great time out on the road and had a chance to do some writing. The Shenandoah guys heard it and made a great record of that song."
Sherrill: "That song stems from an experience Bob DiPiero had in London. He was dead drunk in a pub outside of town with some songwriting friends of his over there. They staggered out, and in the moonlight across from the pub was an old ancient British church - small but with a big steeple. A stone church in the moonlight, and it was so beautiful that he staggered over there and he hugged it. He said, 'I'm going to write a song about you someday.' He told us that story when he got back in Nashville. We had been jamming with that melody for The Church On Cumberland Road, so we just transferred his church to America in our minds and put it out here on Cumberland Road."
Cumberland Road is off of River Road in West Nashville. There is a real church there - a little white church.
Bruce Springsteen wrote "Blinded By The Light," which was a #1 hit for Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The "Madman Drummers" line is a reference to Springsteen's first E-Street drummer, Vinnie "Mad dog" Lopez.