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Diamond Rio

Greatest Hits II – 2006 (Arista)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Diamond Rio

It's been 16 years since Diamond Rio's first single "Meet in the Middle" went straight to the top of the charts, which is an eternity in today's country world. They've had their ups and downs along the way, of course, but just the fact that they're still together and still making music together makes them worthy of our attention, even though they've been overshadowed in recent years by Rascal Flatts and other bands that followed in their footsteps.

Part of the reason they're still around when so many of the bands that came along at the same time as they did are trivia answers is because as they've gotten older, their music has matured as well. They're not afraid to explore spirituality on songs like "I Believe," and one of the new tracks "God Only Cries" is a tender, comforting look at how things are if we really believe you go to a better place when you pass on. "Beautiful Mess" is a catchy look at the fact that love is, at best, a mixed blessing; it's a far cry from the innocence of "Norma Jean Riley." Perhaps, most surprising is "Wrinkles," wherein the guys find the bright side of aging.

It also helps that they have a sense of humor. "Redneck Love Gone Bad" another new song, is a hilarious look at romance among people whose best dates usually end with the camera crew from "Cops" showing up. One could question the inclusion of "Meet in the Middle" since it was on their first greatest hits collection, but if that's your only complaint then this must be a solid package indeed.