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Great Start For A Great Group
on July 18, 2001
Very few bands in country music have been as consistently successful over the past ten years as Diamond Rio. This six-member ensemble emerged from its bluegrass roots to the elite level in country by combining strong musicianship with tight harmonies. They also possess, in lead singer Marty Roe, a distinctive tenor of exceptional power and conviction. With each of their first four albums an acclaimed effort, it is no surprise that they were able to put together a strong Greatest Hits.
What does sink in anew upon continued listening to this set is an appreciation for their musical diversity. Diamond Rio's bluegrass background lends itself to the old fashion virtues of numbers like "Mama Don't Forget To Pray For Me" and "She Misses Him On Sunday The Most" (which Roe amazingly manages to keep from getting sappy), yet they are equally at home on upbeat honkytonkers such as "Meet In The Middle" and "Mirror Mirror." They can also tug at your heart with a ballad like "In A Week Or Two" and then immediately put a smile on your face with the gothic satire "It's All In Your Head" or the corn pone ditty "Norma Jean Riley." It adds up to a rural rollercoaster of emotions.
With its two new selections, Diamond Rio accomplished the rare feat (particularly in country) of serving up some fresh sounds. "How Your Love Makes Me Feel" finds them in a more aggressive mode. The rocking melody is four minutes of nonstop hooks. Coupled with engaging lyrics, it is one of their best recordings ever. "Imagine That" holds back a bit more on its beat, but the end result is no less vibrant. Its harmonies and instrumentation are reminiscent of the Huey Lewis Sports era, with some lovely mandolin thrown in to remind you that it's country.
Old or new, the hits keep coming for Diamond Rio. A more pleasing anthology by a modern country group would be hard to find.