It’s been 26 years since Diamond Rio released their self-titled freshman debut album, which included their first No.1 hit, “Meet in the Middle.” Since then, the six-man group have gone on to chart more than more than 30 singles, including mega-hits such as “One More Day” and “I Believe.”
But in many ways, the guys feel like they are still the young artists, with big hopes and lofty dreams.
“I think the years slip up on everybody,” lead singer Marty Roe tells Sounds Like Nashville. “We’re just out doing our thing, enjoying having hits on the radio and doing what you do to do that — doing great shows and meeting great people. All of a sudden, you look around and you’ve been around for 15 years, and then it’s 20 years.”
“I still feel like I’m 28,” adds guitarist Jimmy Olander. “I just turned 56 this year. I’m the youngest guy in the band. So I still feel like I’m in my late 20s. But it dawns on me when a young artist comes up to me, maybe they’re having hits, and they say, ‘Mr. Olander. I’ve been listening to you, my mom took me out to see you, or you’re my grandmother’s favorite.’ I’m like, ‘Oh man, that feels a little harsh.’”
Although Diamond Rio started their career with a big hit, their increasing growth in celebrity status quietly snuck up on them.
“I remember when it started happening in the autograph line,” recalls bass guitarist and vocalist Dana Williams. “Forever it was, ‘Here sign my arm. Sign my stomach. Sign my whatever.’ And then it turned into, ‘Man I grew up on you my whole life.’ And, ‘My parents listen to you all the time.’ All of a sudden it becomes clear that maybe we’re the old guys.”
Diamond Rio have accomplished what most artists only dream about. They’ve amassed more than a dozen awards, including five CMA trophies and a coveted Grammy, sold more than 10 million albums, and became members of the Grand Ole Opry. But there’s still one thing they’d like to cross off their bucket list.
“I only have one other career goal,” Roe reveals. “It would be nice to be recognized in the Country Music Hall of Fame, I guess. It’s not really up to us. That’s one that’s not up to us. I think I’d like to keep working as long as we enjoy it.”
Successes or not, Diamond Rio, who still play over 60 shows a year, have no plans to slow down anytime soon.
“I think we’ve learned how much we enjoy what we’re doing, and how much we respect each other’s involvement and what they bring to the package,” says Olander. “That’s probably some of the reasons why we’re still together. We struggled for many years before we actually got our break. But I think that’s maybe the main thing. I’ve learned a lot of respect for my partners, and feel very fortunate to be able to do this as long as we have, and make a good living for my family and all of those things.”