Diamond Rio Christmas Show comes to MSU Riley Center next week

Diamond Rio spent the last holiday season performing in residence at Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee. This year, the country supergroup takes their Christmas Show “Holiday and Hits” on tour, including a concert Dec. 6 at the MSU Riley Center in downtown Meridian. The music starts at 7:30 p.m.

Diamond Rio has kept the same six-man lineup, fronted by lead singer Marty Roe, unchanged since 1989. Its vocal harmonies and virtuoso musicianship have delighted fans ever since. The 1991 debut single, “Meet Me in the Middle,” hit No. 1 on the country charts. The band has won a Grammy Award and multiple Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards.

Over the years, Diamond Rio has blended elements of mainstream country, bluegrass, rock, contemporary Christian music and several other musical genres into its sound.

The group has done some holiday-theme concerts in years past, and released “A Diamond Rio Christmas: The Star Still Shines” in 2007. But planning a full-fledged Christmas show turned out to be a bit more complicated than planning an album, said lead guitarist Jimmy Olander.

“When we cut our record, everybody just brought in their favorite song,” Olander said. “For doing the show, since we had so much Santa and so much snow, we were like, ‘OK, we need some more Christ and the meaning of Christmas.’” So the Diamond Rio musicians wove in favorite hymns and other religious songs among the secular standards.

The band’s depth of spirit, together with the members’ mutual respect from nearly three decades of playing together means that Diamond Rio connects with its audiences on a deeply personal level. Adding the joy and significance of Christmas will make for one amazing evening of music.

Tickets are $52 and $46 at the MSU Riley Center Box Office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets can be purchased online at www.msurileycenter.com or by phone at 601-696-2200.

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