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Diamond Rio Band Members: See the Country Superstars Then and Now

These country legends have had an “Unbelievable” career — on and off the stage!

Artists are often warned not to let success go to their head and to not believe their own hype, but the Diamond Rio band members are proof that you also have to know your own worth.

Having started out as The Tennessee River Boys in the 80s, they eventually morphed into Diamond Rio in 1989, and the group consisted of vocalist Marty Roe; guitar and banjo player Jimmy Olander; bassist/vocalist Dana Williams; pianist Dan Truman; drummer Brian Prout; and mandolin player and vocalist Gene Johnson.

They were six guys with a dream — but facing an uphill battle to get signed to a record label, Roe has shared, recalling how they were told their act was “too big” to be marketable. But persistence paid off, and the guys were eventually picked up by Arista and made a big splash within a couple years, becoming the first band to have a debut single hit No. 1 on the country charts.

“Once we broke with [1991’s] ‘Meet in the Middle,’ it was amazing,” Roe told Taste of Country, adding that their success likely helped other acts, like Lonestar. “Those folks — good friends of ours — got a chance maybe because we proved [a bigger band] actually can work.”

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Diamond Rio Band members
Diamond Rio (1993) Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer / Getty

And work they did, serving up a string of memorable hits that include 1998’s “Unbelievable” and “You’re Gone,” 2001’s “One More Day,” 2002’s “Beautiful Mess,” and 2003’s “I Believe,” just to name a few. For 33 years, the lineup sold more than 6.8 million albums and racked up over 1 billion global streams, picking up four CMA Vocal Group of the Year Awards and two group honors at the ACMs.

In 2011, their crowd-pleasing blend of country and bluegrass earned a Grammy for The Reason, which won top honors for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album.

They’ve shined just as bright offstage as spokespersons for Big Brothers Big Sisters while also tirelessly championing multiple other charitable causes. Throughout their career, they’ve helped raise more than $1 million for nonprofits, which led to them humbly receiving the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award in 2004.

“Several years ago, we had the honor of working with Minnie. Her amazing spirit lives on to encourage all of us to do good,” Roe noted at that time, adding, “You don’t do it for the awards. You just hope you touch someone along the way.”

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They’ve touched plenty of hearts with their music, evidenced by the band’s two newest members — vocalist and fiddle player Carson McKee and drummer Micah Schweinsberg, who came aboard in 2023 to replace the now-retired Prout and Johnson. This marks the first time the lineup of Diamond Rio band members has changed in 33 years.

“I tell people constantly that I’ll always be a fan of this band first, whether I’m in it or not,” Schweinsberg says of collaborating with these artists he’s admired for so long. McKee feels similarly. “Let me just say that Gene Johnson, you are my hero,” she noted of stepping in to fill the mandolinist’s high vocal harmonies — and shoes! “Growing up, you were my hero, will always be my hero, and [you] have left a mighty big footprint in this industry. I am honored and humbled with the chance to try and do your part the justice it deserves.”

In 2023, this new lineup of Diamond Rio band members released “The Kick,” a fun and rollicking instrumental track that showcases the group’s longstanding dedication to musicianship. They proudly point to the fact that they’ve played every note on every album throughout their award-winning career.

Below, we take a look at the Diamond Rio band members and what they’re up to these days while not out on the road entertaining their fans.

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Marty Roe: Diamond Rio band members

Marty Roe
1994/2019 Tim Mosenfelder / Contributor / Getty // Tim Mosenfelder / Contributor

The band’s lead vocalist, 63, grew up in Ohio loving music and learning how to play various instruments, including the trumpet, the guitar, and the mandolin. He even became a member of his school’s jazz band.

These days he’s focused on Diamond Rio’s new music, new members, and playing for the fans as much as possible. “Coming together and celebrating is important and I think we all developed a greater sense of appreciation for our ability to gather after being shutdown in 2020,” he told Katy Magazine News, noting how they upped their tour date schedule since then. “We were all shut down and we aren’t ready for that. The idea of congregating and being entertained is an important aspect of life and we’re blessed to be able to participate in that part of society.”

While not touring, he enjoys golfing, fishing, racing cars, and spending time with his family. He and his wife, Robin, have two daughters, and they welcomed a granddaughter in 2020. They are also active volunteers and champions of various charitable causes, including the American Lung Association, Mid-Western Children’s Home, and Both Hands, an organization that helps Christian families fund their adoption dreams while also helping a widow fix her home. “People can throw money at a group the end of the year, and that’s OK, but I like to get invested,” he’s said of his continued support of great causes.

And one personal goal remains top on his list: “It would be nice to be recognized in the Country Music Hall of Fame.… [but] that’s one that’s not up to us,” he told Sounds Like Nashville of a recognition he dreams Diamond Rio will someday get.

Jimmy Olander

Jimmy Olander
2001/2011 Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer / Getty // Stephen Cohen / Stringer / Getty

This Minneapolis native was giving banjo lessons to friends when he was just in his teens, so his love of music goes way back. While in college in Nashville, he learned guitar to make himself more well-rounded and marketable in his professional pursuits, and it paid off. He’s now considered one of the best Bender guitar players around. In December 2023, the self-professed “guitar nerd,” even made the cover of Vintage Guitar magazine. “Right now I am working on a complete instrumental record. I’m about a third of the way into it,” he told the publication of his current passion project.

With the new Diamond Rio band members in place, Olander, 62, is no longer “the youngest guy in the band,” as he used to like to point out. He still has a youthful approach to life, thanks to a health scare years ago. “During the course of our first album in 1990, I learned I had a
lemon-sized tumor in my chest,” Olander told the Times Leader. “My life flashed before my eyes, and I thought of all these things I wanted to do but that had never came to
pass.… I wanted to…get married and to learn how to skydive,” he said.

Though the tumor was thankfully benign, “I realized you’ve got to do things while you’re still alive,” Olander shared. He’s indeed become an avid skydiver and he also married his wife Claudia in 1995. The couple have a son named Max and a 150-pound dog named Elvis! Fans can find him posting Jimmy O Show segments on the band’s YouTube channel.

Dana Williams: Diamond Rio band members

Dana Williams; diamond rio band members
1993/2019 Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer / Getty // Tim Mosenfelder / Contributor / Getty

At 62, the bassist and vocalist for the band has kept a good sense of humor about transitioning from being a hot new act into one of country music’s veteran bands. “I remember when it started happening in the autograph line,” he told Sounds Like Nashville. “Forever it was, ‘Here sign my arm. Sign my stomach. Sign my whatever.’ And then it turned into, ‘Man I grew up on you my whole life.’ And, ‘My parents listen to you all the time.’ All of a sudden it becomes clear that maybe we’re the old guys.”

The Ohio-born, Nashville-raised musician started performing in church around age 7, and has been playing his heart out ever since. When not singing, playing and performing, he also loves water sports, such as scuba diving, boating, and water skiing. He and his wife, Lisa, have a son named Jacob. He has also been hosting Radio ReHab with Dana Williams, a syndicated show that can be found on CMR Nashville, which bills itself as “Europe’s #1 Country Music Station.”

Dan Truman

Dan Truman; diamond rio band members
2003/2023 Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty // Fred Hayes / Stringer / Getty

The band’s piano player, now 67, hails from St. George, Utah, where he grew up the son of a piano teacher. He attended BYU (where he obtained a degree in Music Composition) and, after serving a mission in Florida, landed in Nashville to pursue his musical career. This is where he met up with the Tennessee River Boys, who, of course, became Diamond Rio.

Though he loves the success they’ve shared and the time they’s had entertaining fans on the road, he has gotten homesick through the years, missing time with his wife, Wendee, and their daughter and three sons. “It’s great to have a lot of people in the seats and they’re screaming for you…but when you’ve got family back home, and they’re sitting there taking care of all the everyday, mundane things that come up, it’s a little hard,” he’s admitted to Deseret News. Still, music is a true passion and calling for him. In 2005, he co-founded the Nashville Tribute Band, “a Christian music group unlike any you’ve ever heard.” Their 10th album, Witness, was released in January 2024, and it is “our first album with all original music since 2018,” Truman shared on social media.

He also released his own five-song EP called The Secret To Solace in 2023, and he’s passed his musical talents to the next generation: Sons Ben and Chad perform as The Truman Brothers, and they’re also members of the Nashville Tribute Band. Fans of their dad, meanwhile, can find him occasionally posting Dan’s Living Room Jams on Diamond Rio’s YouTube channel.

Brian Prout: Diamond Rio band members

Brian Prout; diamond rio band members
1993/2003 Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer / Getty // Frank Mullen / Contributor / Getty

This onetime rock ’n’ roll drummer from New York first stumbled onto country music — and his love for it — down in Florida. The lifelong geography buff got to put his knowledge to good use through the years he extensively toured with Diamond Rio, whom he joined when they were still the Tennessee River Boys. “Someone will mention that they are from a small town somewhere and I say, ‘I have been there!’ One thing about doing 150-200 shows a year, you see so much,” he once told Capital Region Living. “We have performed in many countries in the world, as well as the cities and towns through the U.S.”

After a highly publicized relationship with Mary Bono (Sonny Bono’s widow and future congresswoman) in the late 90s, Prout met and married Stephanie Bentley in 2001. Bentley is a singer-songwriter who’s penned hits for Lorrie Morgan, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and Celine Dion, among others, and she and Prout have a daughter and twin boys.

Now 68, the skiing enthusiast has retired from the band, with new member Micah Schweinsberg taking his place. “The marvel that is Brian Prout cannot be replaced, ever,” Schweinsberg posted about taking over for “a hero whose shoes just can’t be filled,” he wrote, adding that Prout has “paid plenty of dues and is now in a position to have some rest. Brian is the kindest soul, and a good friend, and I wish him nothing but happiness and fulfillment in the days to come. He deserves this time.”

Gene Johnson

Gene Johnson; diamond rio band members
1993/2014 Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer / Getty // Beth Gwinn / Contributor / Getty

“I think it was the luck of the draw. That’s the way I look at it,” the mandolin player and vocalist told The Herald-Mail back in 2016 about the secret to the Diamond Rio band members success. “I think we just happened to get the right six people together to start it. So many bands along the way have proved that that’s not real easy. But I think we started with the right combination of personalities to be able to hold it together this long.”

The son of a fiddler and square-dance caller also noted that “music was kind of handed down through the family,” and that he started playing mandolin around age 3 or 4. “I was actually surprised when I started going to kindergarten that nobody else played.… When you start that young, it’s kind of like a natural thing, it’s something you do.”

Johnson, now 74, officially retired from the band in October 2022, due largely to family matters. “I hadn’t played since May 2022,” he told the Times Observer in 2023. “My wife was ill and I had to take care of her, so I had not been on the road. Her illness was very serious and she passed on Aug. 30. I had a different view of things and no longer wanted to be on the road 200 days a year, so I officially retired in October after over 30 years with the band.”

He’s played some shows on his own since then, and he has other other interests he pursues. “Through the years, I’ve not only played music, but I’ve been a woodworker. Music did not always make me a good living, so it was what I fell back on,” noted the artist, who, in the past has served as the chairman for Tennessee Craft Week. He also still loves to play mandolin. “Bluegrass is my first love and I hope to record songs and get them out soon,” he’s said. “Once I get some more songs and albums out, maybe I will tour a little bit too, but it will be on a calmer scale.”

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