Diamond Rio

Cohen Series: Diamond Rio

Diamond Rio, a country band with a pile of awards, will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19 in the Carlsen Center's Yardley Hall at JCCC. 

Tickets are $40 and $30. They are available through the college box office at 913-469-4445 or online

The group won its first Grammy last year for “The Reason,” which was named the Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album. “The Reason,” the band's first full-length Christian album, also picked up a Dove Award for the Country Album of the Year. 

“There has always been a veil on our Christianity and the veil is off,” guitarist Jimmy Olander says on the band's website. “We're revealing who we are. We're not preaching… 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.” 

Diamond Rio will appear as part of JCCC's Cohen Community Series. The series was inaugurated in 2008 through a gift from college trustee Jon Stewart in honor of the late Barton P. Cohen, president of Metcalf Bancshares, vice chairman and general counsel of Metcalf Bank and an attorney with Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin LLC. All proceeds go to JCCC scholarships and educational programs. 

Previous presenters for the Cohen series have been Vince Gill, George Will, Phil Vassar and Marcus Buckingham. 

Diamond Rio busted out in 1991 with the hit “Meet in the Middle” to become the first band in the history of country music to have a debut single reach No. 1. All together, the band has released seven studio albums, two greatest hits collections and “A Diamond Rio Christmas: The Star Still Shines,” a 2007 holiday album that marked its debut with Word Records. 

Besides Olander, Diamond Rio features lead vocalist Marty Roe, drummer Brian Prout, keyboardist Dan Truman, bassist Dana Williams and Gene Johnson on mandolin, guitar and fiddle. 

The band has sold more than 10 million albums, earning three platinum and five gold records. It also has won the Country Music Association's Vocal Group of the Year award four times and was named the Top Vocal Group of the Year by Academy of Country Music Awards twice. 

Among the group's big hits are “How Your Love Makes Me Feel,” “Norma Jean Riley,” “Beautiful Mess” and “Love a Little Stronger.” 

Diamond Rio's recent transition from mainstream country music to a Christian deal with Word was not a stretch. Many of their songs have been positive hits such as “I Believe,” “Mama Don't Forget to Pray For Me” and “One More Day.” 

“The Reason,” with the hit song “God is There,” was one of the band's most personal projects. Olander and Roe wrote most of the songs. 

“We've gone to great efforts to try to make sure we've written a record that's from the heart,” Olander said. “These songs share what we believe in. This is who we are.”