Tennessee band Diamond Rio will perform at Red Deer’s Westerner Days on Thursday.

Diamond Rio to shine at Westerner

It’s been nearly a quarter century since Diamond Rio made a huge splash on the country music scene with the group’s first self-titled album. And the Tennessee band that performs at Red Deer’s Westerner Days on Thursday maintains a loyal following of fans, who can pretty much chart their coming-of-age years with Diamond Rio tunes.

It’s been nearly a quarter century since Diamond Rio made a huge splash on the country music scene with the group’s first self-titled album.

And the Tennessee band that performs at Red Deer’s Westerner Days on Thursday maintains a loyal following of fans, who can pretty much chart their coming-of-age years with Diamond Rio tunes.

For instance, they might remember a lot of amazing things coming out of Diamond Rio’s 1991 debut album.

Its first single, Meet in the Middle, peaked at No. 1 on the country charts, and was followed by four other Top 10 hits: Mirror, Mirror, Mama Don’t Forget to Pray for Me, Norma Jean Riley and Nowhere Bound. A bluegrass instrumental from it, Poultry Promenade, also earned the band its first Grammy nomination.

But the most astonishing thing was that the 1991 debut album ever got made at all.

Shortly after being signed by Arista Records in 1989, three members of the band were sidelined with illnesses or injuries: lead guitarist Jimmy Olander discovered he had a tumor, bassist Dana Williams was seriously injured while boating, and mandolin, guitar and fiddle player Gene Johnson was hurt in a carpentry accident.

It took nearly two years of recuperation for the six musicians to begin working on their first album — which, of course, paid off, big time. Diamond Rio was certified platinum for selling more than one million copies in the U.S. alone.

This was followed by more success with Close to the Edge (1992), which was certified gold, and another platinum-selling album, Love a Little Stronger in 1994. Other hit-producing albums came throughout the 1990s.

But it was the single How Your Love Makes Me Feel, which was included in a 1997 greatest hits album, that became another No. 1 hit and the biggest charting hit for any country group that year.

This was trailed by more huge success with the No. 1 single One More Day (2001), which gained heavy radio play as a tribute to those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Beautiful Mess (2002) and I Believe in 2003 also topped the country charts in the No. 1 spot.

When the group’s next few albums failed to produce Top 20 and then Top 40 hits, the band put out another greatest hits album, parted ways with Arista Records, and released its first Christian music album, The Reason, in 2009.

The group that’s raked in the awards over the years, including four County Music Association Awards, two Academy of Music Awards, and 13 Grammy Award nominations, continues to be popular on tour.

The original lineup also includes drummer Brian Prout, lead vocalist Marty Roe and keyboardist Dan Truman.

The 8:30 p.m. concert at the Centrium is free with gate admission to the fair.

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