Catch the fast, fast, fast tour

March 19, 1997

By Teri Johnson

Staff Writer

The name of Diamond Rio's road show, "Fast, Fast, Fast Tour '97," sums up the career track the group has traveled since it was signed to the Arista/Nashville label in 1990.

The title also can describe the Ford Thunderbird that Diamond Rio and Hanes sponsor in the NASCAR Winston Cup series, a red car with gold and purple striping.

Diamond Rio members are big racing fans, and they jumped at the opportunity to become more involved in the sport, lead singer Marty Roe said in a telephone interview from Nashville, Tenn.


"For three years we've been struggling along," he said. "Like the music business, it gets better every year."

The combination is a logical one, as many country music fans love racing, he said.

The car hasn't captured any trophies yet, but its owners have won a slew of musical honors.

Awards & honors

Diamond Rio was named top vocal group for 1991 and 1992 by Academy of Country Music, as well as vocal group of the year for 1992, 1993 and 1994 by Country Music Association.

The group's debut single, "Meet in the Middle," reached No. 1 on every trade magazine chart, making it the first country band to achieve the honor. Other No. 1 hits include "Love a Little Stronger," "In a Week or Two" and "Norma Jean Riley," and 17 singles have been in the Top 15.

The band's current single, "Holdin'," is climbing Billboard's country singles chart and has been in the Top 10 for several weeks.

Secret song

Diamond Rio's fourth album, "IV," was the band's first foray into producing its own music.

The album has been fun for fans because some versions of the compact disc contain a hidden cut. Listeners who press the reverse button on the CD player once the first single starts to play will hear the opening music from the band's 1995 tour.

Diamond Rio's greatest hits album, scheduled for release June 3, will include two new songs. The group also is working on its next album.

Roe, who also plays guitar and mandolin, said the group has a lot of fun in the studio. Other members are lead guitarist Jimmy Olander, mandolinist and vocalist Gene Johnson, drummer Brian Prout, bassist and vocalist Dana Williams and keyboardist Dan Truman.

Diamond Rio and fellow Arista recording artist Pam Tillis will give two concerts Saturday, March 22, at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown. Roe said the two acts will perform separately at each of the shows, which begin at 7 and 9:30 p.m.

"She does a tremendous show," said Roe, who sang a duet with Tillis on her "Homeward Looking Angel" album.

Charity work

Diamond Rio members, known for showing sensitivity in music, also are noted for their charity work, which includes an annual celebrity golf tournament.

They also are the national spokesmen for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The members encourage adults to become volunteers. The group also often provides free concert tickets and backstage passes to the children and their mentors.

Roe said Diamond Rio's concerts showcase each band member's talents, and the band is inspired by each audience.

All members of Diamond Rio except Prout are married. Roe, 36, and his wife, Robin, have two daughters, Isabella, 6, and Sarah, 2.

The group, originally known as Tennessee River Boys, got its start performing at Opryland in Nashville.

Roe said band members got to know each other in the years they struggled for success. Their personalities mesh well, Roe said.

"It's like a good marriage - we know when to leave each other alone and when to give each other grief," he said.

Diamond Rio and Pam Tillis in concert

When: Saturday, March 22, at 7and 9:30 p.m.

Where: TheMaryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

Tickets: $20 through $35

For information: call 790-2000 or1-800-34-SHOWS

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