Christmas is coming early for Diamond Rio. The six-man group will perform as part of Gaylord Opryland’s annual A Country Christmas Celebration, in a show called Holidays & Hits, which kicks off on Nov. 16.
“We had a new CD we put out about a year or so ago, called I Made It,” lead singer Marty Roe tells Sounds Like Nashville. “That’s the latest thing we’ve done. Right now we’re working on the Christmas show for Opryland. We’re writing that show and trying to get that put together.”
“It’s the year of Christmas,” adds lead guitarist, Jimmy Olander. “First of all, we love Christmas, so this is the tenth anniversary of our Christmas record [The Star Still Shines]. And that came along way, way late in our career. I’ve got this huge Christmas music collection. To get to do that record back then, and now doing this. And actually, the The Star Still Shines project, there was a lot of Santa Claus on that. So for this, we’re doing an extended Christ-based song that will be new for us.”
Holidays & Hits will run six days a week through Christmas, a steep time commitment for any artist. But Diamond Rio insist they never considered saying no.
“Why wouldn’t we want to do it?” questions vocalist and bass guitarist Dana Williams. “Why would we want to sit home? It’s an exciting time actually to be doing a Christmas show like that, and to work that much. I say work. Play that many shows in a row. We’re going to be playing six nights a week for six weeks. I don’t know that we’ve ever done that.”
Fans who have been to any of Diamond Rio’s numerous shows over the past 25 years will be in for something new with Holidays & Hits, including who sings out on some of the festive tunes.
“Dana’s singing lead on some stuff, and Gene’s singing lead on some stuff,” Olander reveals. “It’s going to be fun. We know what we’re doing for our fourth quarter. We’re driving out to the Holiday and Hits out there, and sleeping in our own beds. We’ve got so many friends in Nashville, asking ‘When are you guys ever playing Nashville?’ Let me tell you. I’m playing there every day from mid-November until Christmas day.”
Tickets for the Holiday & Hits show are available on Opryland’s website.