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Diamond Rio: The Disciples of Country Music

Bio By The 700 Club

Founded in 1984, Diamond Rio have been together for over 20 years without any member changes. They began one of the most successful careers in country music, making history in 1991 as the first band to have their first single go to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.  All of the group’s members had been Christians for many years, though they admit, “Actions don’t always emulate what we preach.” 

At times they got caught up in the business and suffered with complacency and burnt out, but their biggest trial came when lead singer Marty’s voice began to deteriorate.

The whole band questioned what would happen if Marty was no longer able to sing.  Marty believes he took his gifts for granted and developed poor vocal habits. He compared his behavior to the biblical parable of the talents,  in his case he felt he squandered his gift to sing.

Through their brokenness and surrender, they knew only God was the One in control. They knew that through prayer God would bring about a change. The band ended their long-term relationship with Arista Records.

Change came, but not in the way they expected.  Nevertheless, the band was excited about new opportunities the Lord might have in store for them.

During the three years of Marty’s vocal struggles, it never crossed their minds to disband the group. In 2006, Marty’s voice was at its worst, and his attempts to work with various vocal coaches ended with no results until he met Diane Sheets, a Christian vocal coach. They talked about technique and prayed.  Then within three to four hours, there was a dramatic turn around!

The group signed with Word Records. Jimmy Olander says of entering the Christian genre, “There has always been a veil on our Christianity and the veil is off. We’re revealing who we are. We’re not preachers, but we’re saying, ‘This is who I am and I’m proud of it.’ God is working and we’re here for a reason.”

“Times are tough right now,” says Marty. “People are reassessing what’s really important to them. Money and jobs can’t be it. It’s easy to become self-centered in success. This has affected each of the guys. It was a unified experience, but there were different stages and times of learning God’s lessons. Now everybody is in the same place. This is bigger than us.”

Their autobiography, Beautiful Mess, shares personal stories and struggles and how they have made it work for over 20 years. The group says it’s refreshing to be where they are right now; they feel like they are at peace doing what they should be doing. They are totally surrendered to singing Christian music, but couldn’t have imagined this before.  They say there is now a lot less expectation, “Before we thought like businessmen, now we think as disciples.”

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Diamond Rio

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Beautiful MessBeautiful Mess





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The ReasonThe Reason (Word Records)