When Diamond Rio released their debut self-titled album in 1991, they made history. The album’s lead single, “Meet In the Middle,” spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. At the time, they were the first country music group whose debut made it all the way to that coveted top spot.
Once Diamond Rio hit the charts, they were there to stay. Comprised of members Dan Truman, Marty Roe, Jimmy Olander, Brian Prout, Gene Johnson and Dana William, the group went on to have four more No. 1 hits. Between 1991 and 2006, Diamond Rio sent 32 singles to the charts overall; 22 of those going to the Top 10.
The 1990s have come to be regarded as one of the finest decades in country music. Artists like Diamond Rio defined the era’s sound and made it fertile soil for producing songs that would go on to be classics in the genre. While it’s tempting to distill the magic and point to individual factors that make Diamond Rio’s music so beloved by country music listeners, it’s most accurate to say that the band members are experts in opening themselves to the full spectrum of human emotion and experience — and inviting others to join them on the journey.
It’s also true that, from the beginning, the band’s very structure set the group apart from the rest. In country music, it’s commonplace for artists and groups alike to use session musicians on their albums. Diamond Rio, however, never followed this model. The group has always been self-contained — save for certain tracks like “One More Day” that enlisted a strings section. Their cohesion is deeply felt by those who listen.
Read on to see The Boot’s picks for Diamond Rio’s 10 best songs, which are essential listening for any country music fan: