Diamond Rio was ready to go last May
with its seventh album, titled Stuff.
quirky title cut was released as the first
single, and after two months it found its
way to No. 36 on the Billboard
singles chart -- where it decided to
"It was going to maybe go to about 20
or 25 on the chart,
and that's all we
were going to get out of it," says lead
singer Marty Roe during a recent
at Arista Records. "Where 'Stuff' was played, it was a big
hit in some markets. We stand by it, but the fact that it didn't
do that well overall
may actually have helped us in the long run."
Such is the advantage of being a veteran band
that has been up and down the
charts a time or two. After 11 years, six albums and 17 Top 10 Billboard singles,
men of Diamond Rio are well aware of the ebb and flow of their profession.
Roe says when "Stuff" stiffed, the band stepped
back, regrouped and rethought
issues such as sequencing, singles and album title.
They released "One More Day,"
a gut-wrenching ballad of hindsight and regret, in
October. The song has climbed as high as No. 8 on Billboard's
giving the band the boost it needed for launching the album, retitled One More
just true, and everybody can relate," Roe says of the song. "I'm not a bad
person, but I get caught up in my work and everything
else I do, and I take for
granted and neglect things that are most important to me. This song reminds you
of that, and
if you have a heart at all in there somewhere, it's going to prick you a
Keyboardist Dan Truman attributes
the song's power to its simple but striking
"You could put those words with a different melody, and it could
have been kind
of schlocky, too sweet," he says. "But, it was just right, and whatever the
songwriters did, they nailed
One More Day is Diamond Rio's first project since 1998's platinum-selling
It is a testament to the talent and perseverance of the band that it
remains standing when other country groups have drifted
away. Among the
stellar collection of songs is the tongue-twisting opener "That's Just That," the
rollicking "I Can
Do It With My Eyes Closed" and the full-on bluegrass of "Hearts
Against the Wind."
"We've never cut a bluegrass
song, but we thought, 'It's time,'" Truman says.
"The harmonies on that thing are so cool. Our three singers are harmonizing
falsetto. I'm not one of the singers, so I can brag."
Also included is a duet with Chely Wright. Reminiscent
of the band's 1998 hit
"You're Gone," "I'm Trying" is a painful look at the realities of a relationship in
The band already had finished cutting the song when Roe decided the
tune needed a woman's voice.
co-producer, Mike Clute, wasn't too
keen on the idea because he liked the record,
and it worked so well," Roe says.
"But I really
thought, you know, this song is a conversation
between a man and a woman. Chely came in,
and she and
I had a little talk about where to go
with it. It's almost like acting, which I've never
tried, but you almost have
to take on a character."
The song wasn't in Wright's key, but she tackled
the project anyway.
Rio had asked me to sing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' I would have
done it," Wright says. "The key was low, but that gave
my performance a certain
quality that they said they liked. When I hear my voice among theirs, it gives me
lady adding her voice to the project is Roe's daughter, Sarah. The
then-4-year-old belts out "Oh What a Beautiful Morning"
at the beginning of the
singalong cut "Sweet Summer." Written by Neil Thrasher and Michael Dulaney,
the song paints
a vivid picture of childhood memories, heightened by the sound of
real children at play.
"Mike [Clute], being the
cool engineering dude that he is, pulled it off," Roe says.
"He ended up recording all our kids. The crack of the bat is
Dan's kid's ballgame.
For me, it just really sets the tone. It catches you off guard and makes you
same can be said of Diamond Rio's trademark sound, which is in top form on
the album. It's an amalgam of the stacked vocals
of Roe, mandolinist Gene
Johnson and bassist Dana Williams, with musical support from Truman's piano,
guitar and drummer Brian Prout's backbeat. The result is
classic Diamond Rio, but the sound never veers into the predictable.
think from the word go we've always had an instrumental identity," Roe
explains. "The trio of piano, mandolin and guitar
is as distinctive as our vocals, if
not more so. And there's a particular way [producer] Mike [Clute] mixes us, not
the vocals, but the instruments. It's in the way he layers them, and they
sound the same sonically."
As corny as
it sounds, that harmony has spilled over from the stage to the
band's relationships with each other. Diamond Rio's lineup
constant since the first album in 1991, and the members have managed to
continue being friends while also
succeeding as business partners. Roe and
Truman attribute their stability to a shared focus on family and faith.
way we look at life and the way we look at music is similar," Truman says.
"I appreciate Marty for where he's at. He's
Church of Christ, and I'm Mormon, and
we have some serious differences, but in our hearts we're the same. We've all
each other through the years. You hear stories about how other acts can't
live on the bus together, and I'm thinking, 'I'm
buoyed up when I go on the bus
with these guys.'"
In fact, Diamond Rio is probably on the bus right now, out West
playing shows with Sawyer Brown. The two bands, who became friends after
touring together in 1994, are joining
forces again for what they've dubbed "The
Battle of the Bands." A tour with fellow Dreamcatcher Management client Kenny
is in the works for later in the year.
Because Diamond Rio will be out on the road promoting One More Day, the
will miss this summer's Fan Fair for the first time in its career. The Country
Music Association is moving the
festival to downtown Nashville and switching
from a weekday to a weekend schedule. The band will host its annual fan club
during the week but will hit the concert trail before the Fan Fair weekend
gets into full swing.
"We're not going
to have [an autograph] booth or anything because they've moved
it to a weekend," Roe explains. "We were booked before we
knew about it. It
wasn't an easy decision for us. We believe in and support Fan Fair, and we're
fine with the changes,
but we can't afford to miss prime time work. I hope we'll be
able to be there in the future, but this year it just didn't