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After 33 years, Diamond Rio remains fresh, true

Legendary band to play at Clay County Agricultural Fair on Saturday, April 6

Don Coble
Posted 3/28/24

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – No matter how many years or how many songs separate Diamond Rio from its past to the present, the band has always been true to themselves. They decided to play their own music …

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After 33 years, Diamond Rio remains fresh, true

Legendary band to play at Clay County Agricultural Fair on Saturday, April 6


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – No matter how many years or how many songs separate Diamond Rio from its past to the present, the band has always been true to themselves.

They decided to play their own music and play it their way instead of using session musicians and more polished producers.

The more they were pushed, the harder they pushed back. Thirty-three years later, the result was a career that now includes the sales of 6.8 million albums, more than 1.05 billion online global streaming downloads, 20 Top-10 singles and 15 Top-5 singles.

“You know, we like playing fairs because we started out playing at fairs,” said bass player Dana Williams during a recent telephone interview. “We make little changes with everything we do but stay true to ourselves. We’re going to show off our two new band members. We hope folks will come out and enjoy the show.”

Diamond Rio will play at the Cattleman’s Arena during the Clay County Agricultural Fair on Saturday, April 8. Allen Higgs and the Kaden Meeks Band will open the show at 7 p.m.; Diamond Rio will be on stage at 8. General admission seats are free with fair admission, while reserve and VIP seats are available at claycountyfair.org.

Diamond Rio originally started at Opryland. They were the Grizzly River Boys in 1982 and changed their names to Diamond Rio in 1984. Despite backlash from Nashville executives, they demanded to cut their music and sing their songs. Their first single in 1991, “Meet in the Middle,” became the first debut single in Billboard Hot Country chart history to reach No. 1. They also enjoyed success with No. 1 songs like “How Your Love Makes Me Feel,” “One More Day,” “Beautiful Mess” and “I Believe.”

Along the way, they were selected as the Country Music Association Vocal Group of the Year in 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1997, Country Music Association Album of the Year in 1994 for “Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles (with various artists),” Academy of Country Music Top Vocal Group for 1991 and 1992 and a Grammy for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album in 2011 for “The Reason.”

Drummer Brian Prout and mandolin player/singer Gene Johnson both retired last year and were replaced by Micha Schweinsberg and Carson McKee, respectively. They brought a taste of bluegrass to the band, apparent in their new single, “The Kick.”

“When we play, it’s just a time to forget everything and have fun,” Williams said. “Through the years, Diamond Rio has put out a whole lot of music. With our two new bandmates, it stays fresh.”

And true.