Diamond Rio kicked off their first show of 2018 in Greenville, South Carolina at The Blindhorse Saloon tonight. The timeless band entertained old and new fans alike with medleys of their fan-favorites, some great classic rock covers and a dash of gospel music.
The Blindhorse Saloon, a premier country nightclub, has hosted many country greats like Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn and Blake Shelton, to name a few. The venue’s current house band, One Eyed Jack, opened tonight’s show with a wonderful selection of throwback songs of 90’s country artists from Deana Carter, Tracy Byrd and David Lee Murphy to some of today’s newer artists like Midland and Jon Pardi.
Diamond Rio started their set off with their knockout song “Unbelievable” and went right in to the comedic “Norma Jean Riley“. It was obvious Diamond Rio was out to set their new year into full swing. The band flowed flawlessly from one song to another, the crowd singing every word right along with them. Frontman Marty Roe mentioned the band having many hit songs and not having time to play them all in one show so they came up with a creative medley to cover a variety of fan-favorites blending songs like, “You’re Gone“, “In A Week or Two“, “Walkin’ Away” and one of my personal favorites, “Love a Little Stronger“.
© Michael Bragg – MJBragg Photography. Please do not alter images.
Over their expansive career the band has ventured into many different aspects of their interests, one of those being the release a gospel single. Singing “In God We Still Trust” from the single and “I Believe“, from their album Completely, was a welcomed change of pace for the show, with Diamond Rio expressing many thanks to various avenues for their successful career.
The crowd was pleasantly surprised when the band followed up with what they refer to as a “Newgrass” medley of some classic rock songs. Guitarist Jimmy Olander picked up the banjo, along with Gene Johnson on mandolin and the bands great harmonies to play “Layla” (Eric Clapton), “Walk This Way” (Aerosmith), “Carry on My Wayward Son” (Kansas) and “Born to Be Wild” (Steppenwolf).
After a night filled with a variety of songs Diamond Rio was left leaving a lasting impression by finishing off the show with “How Your Love Makes Me Feel” and the hugely popular “Meet In The Middle“. Taking a bow and waving to their fans, the lights dimmed but the roar of the crowd lit up the room. The band re-emerged to the stage with their high energy and Elvis-esque moves and gave the fans one last unforgettable song of the night – “Bubba Hyde”.
More about Diamond Rio
In today’s music scene many artists are here today and gone tomorrow, one or two hit songs and then forgotten. Diamond Rio is a band that has stood the test of time with one hit song after another. Having formed originally back in 1982, the band was previously known as both the “Grizzly River Boys” and “Tennessee River Boys“, playing as an amusement park band for Opryland USA in Nashville, TN. The original line up also consisted of another popular 90’s country star, Ty Herndon, before settling on the current lineup that has been together since 1989.
In 1991 Marty Roe (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Gene Johnson (Mandolin, Guitar, Fiddle, Vocals), Jimmy Olander (Lead Guitar, Dobro Banjo), Dana Williams (Bass, Vocals), Brian Prout (Drums) and Dan Truman (Keyboards, Organ) hit the radio airwaves strong with their debut single “Meet In The Middle” after signing with Arista Records. They became the first band to debut a song at number 1 for the Billboard Country charts. They have went on to have five more songs, “How Your Love Makes Me Feel“, “One More Day“, “Beautiful Mess“, “Unbelievable“, and “In A Week or Two” reach the number 1 spot and a total of 32 songs to chart. This is a great accomplishment for a country band that has used its own members to record all of their music, something not common by most Nashville artists. Diamond Rio has won many awards over the years, two ACM‘s for Top Vocal Group of the Year, four CMA‘s for Group of the Year, and one Grammy Award as well. The band has released 10 studio albums with three reaching platinum status and five reaching gold. The most recent album titled “I Made It” was released in late 2015.
Diamond Rio has had an expansive 25+ year career with many details and stories you can find in their book, “Beautiful Mess – The Story of Diamond Rio“.
Photojournalist: Michael Bragg