Country greats Diamond Rio at Vilar Center
Vail CO, Colorado
Most musicians would count themselves lucky to be one-hit-wonders, much less create enough hits to release a “greatest hits package.” But country band Diamond Rio has released their second collection of greatest hits, including “Meet in the Middle,” “Beautiful Mess” and “God Only Cries.” Lead singer Marty Roe recently took some time to reflect with us on his success with Diamond Rio.
On staying together: The band is still intact (after 17 years) becase we struggled together before we have any success. We had some member changes before we had a record deal ” guys who couldn’t hang financially to live out the dream. Every time we changed (members), the sound got defined and each new member brought a strength we didn’t have before. Once success came, it drew us closer together. Without any one of us it wouldn’t be the same. We all enjoy the music we make and enjoy each other’s company; we’ve never had major spats. There’s definitely personality differences, but that’s been a strength, and we appreciate each person’s contribution.
On the business: A lot of bands, at least in country, put together a deal and get success simultaneously. Once you’re touring and money’s coming in, it complicates things. Maybe one guy gets more credit than another guy ” it’s the nature of the beast. It’s hard getting to know guys on a 48-foot bus. You need to know your business partners before doing business. We benefitted from that. It’s the natural flow of how things happen for us. We figured if we don’t work well together after a while, no amount of money or success can make you happy in an unhappy situation. But we’ve been fortunate.
On God in public places: That’s the thing about greatest hits ” (the record label) always wants a new song or two to drive the record. We had been in the studio been working on regular studio album, so “Redneck Love Gone Bad” and “God Only Cries” seemed like great songs to put on there. “In God We Still Trust” is rather timely with things going on in the news, with the constitutionality of having God in public places. It seemed to make sense to place it on this record. We definitely love those songs and play them in our show. It’s hard not to look toward future and be excited about the things we’re working on now, so we’ll definitely be covering things we’ve invested heart and soul in.
On staying relevant: “Meet in the Middle” has a special place in our hearts and in our fans’ hearts. It was our first encounter with having a hit, and the positive nature of the song set the tone for who we are and what we’re about. “I Believe” and “Beautiful Mess” are real highlights as well, because (when they were released) we hadn’t had a #1 in a few years. It’s nice to know you can be new and fresh and continue to hold up. The challenge is to stay current and viable in a business when the ‘new hot thing’ seems the most exciting. It’s a difficult thing ” Vince Allen, even TIm McGraw have to fight to continue to grab people’s attention.
On giving back: We’ve been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters for 13 years. We’ve put together a little team for the Music City Marathon, and we’ve raised as much as $100,00. I can see the results in the eyes of a child when they have an adult that dedicates a day to go out with them. Those days probably aren’t as plentiful as they should be even in our home. But it has lifelong ramifications for those children, and even the ‘Bigs,’ as we call them. It’s not expensive to make a match. When we raise $300,000 dollars, that’s a lot of children getting served. We are proud about that.
On the future: We’ve got a Christmas album coming out in October; we’ve never taken the time to do that. I can’t say how excited we are about it; stylistically we can really do some things that we wouldn’t be able to do on traditional country radio. All the band members picked two favorite songs from childhood, but it won’t be quite what you heard back then. I chose “The Christmas Song” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
On playing live: Every place and every audience has its personality. I’ve always likened it to meeting a new person ” you hope at the end of a conversation, you’ve made a new friend. I try to pay attention to what’s going on in the audience. If something funny is going on, I may just have to point it out. We try not to be a jukebox; no one wants to close their eyes and have it feel like your listening to a CD. We bring things you wouldn’t hear on records, broaden people’s expectations of who we are. One thing (being in Beaver Creek) does affect is your voice. You better take a bigger breath each time you sing, or you’ll run out of air up there!