Among what was seemingly a plethora, of indistinguishable country-rock "crossover" bands that invaded the Nashville scene in the 1990's, Diamond Rio captured more than their share of success and CMA awards by being among the few bands willing to push the envelope by recording material outside the standard soft-rock, love ballad genre.
While their new release does contain a healthy dose of these kinds of songs (though uniformly well-arranged and well-produced), there are enough interesting surprises to make it the kind of well-rounded effort fans have become used to. The closer, "Stuff" is a wry, up-tempo look at why the shopping channels on cable television continue to flourish, and "Sweet Summer" is an engaging, low-key ode to the days of childhood when life was geared to the sound of an ice cream truck bell. "I'm Trying" (featuring a guest appearance by Chely Wright) is an emotional look at the relational disruptions caused by alcoholism, and strange as it may sound, "Here I Go Fallin'" carries echoes of both the "talking blues" of Woody Guthrie and the stream-of-consciousness rock-n-roll of Tom Petty in his vintage years of the '80's. The hands-down best track, though, is their rendition of J. D. Souther's "Hearts Against The Wind," with its heavy reliance on classic bluegrass harmony.