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Together since '89, Diamond Rio ready for Palace Festival again

Diamond Rio, a six-person country band, will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at The World's Only Corn Palace for the Corn Palace Festival. (Publicity image)

Thanks to their many influences, Diamond Rio has a sound like none other.

And they'll be bringing their sound to the Corn Palace Festival, performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the World's Only Corn Palace. Opening for the group is Blackhawk.

Tickets cost $42 for reserved and general admission, while VIP tickets cost $52. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 995-8430, visiting cornpalace.ticketforce.com or stopping by the box office.

And the band has something unique to offer, according to band member Gene Johnson, as they haven't had a member change since 1989.

"We've been together a long time," Johnson told The Daily Republic recently. "I think we have all enjoyed the success we've had and don't want to let go of that. To walk away and start something else is kind of foolish in a way."

The band consists of Johnson, vocals and mandolin; Jimmy Olander, lead guitar, acoustic guitar and banjo; Brian Prout, drums; Marty Roe, lead vocal; Dan Truman, keyboards; and Dana Williams, bass guitar and baritone vocals.

The six-time Vocal Group of the Year recently released their 10th album, called "I Made It." But the group is known for hits "How Your Love Makes Me Feel," "One More Day," "Unbelievable" and "Beautiful Mess." But it was the release of "Meet In The Middle" that made history as Diamond Rio became the first country music group in history to reach No. 1 with a debut single.

But it's the performances and places they travel the group enjoys most, Johnson said, especially South Dakota.

"I love the beauty of South Dakota and it's different than anywhere else," Johnson said. "They definitely have their distinct look and feel, and I enjoy being up there."

Diamond Rio previously visited Mitchell twice for the Corn Palace Festival, including in 1995 and 2014. And Johnson said for their upcoming concert, they will be performing the hits for their dedicated fans, but because they can't play all of them all, the band will perform some medleys, combining several songs into one.

"You always hear someone say, 'You didn't play my favorite song,' " Johnson said. "... Fortunately we've had enough hits that we really can't fit them all into one show, and that's a good problem."

Johnson said there will also be a few surprise songs from their newer albums, keeping their hits and the songs that made them a success as the main event.

Diamond Rio has sold more than 10 million albums, won a Grammy Award and has been named the Vocal Group of the Year six times through the Country Music Association, and the Academy of Country Music.

But for now, the band will focus on their upcoming show in the Corn Palace Festival, and enjoying the "fresh air" of South Dakota.

"We do look forward to and we always enjoy being up in that direction," Johnson said. "It's good to get up there."

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