BEMIDJI -- A Bemidji State University student organization has snared one of country's highest-flying acts for its annual spring music fling.
Diamond Rio, whose latest release "One More Day" is riding a wave of nationwide popularity, will perform at 8 p.m. April 19 in BSU's John Glass Field House.
Sponsored by the Hobson Union Programming Board of BSU students, the event is expected to fill the campus' 3,400-seat hockey arena, according to a student union spokeswoman.
An April concert featuring a major rock or country band has become an annual rite of spring for students and area music fans, she said.
Diamond Rio, one of the most successful country bands of the 1990s, released "One More Day" in February on the Arista-Nashville label. It opened at No. 5 on Billboard's country music charts, and the single with the same name has topped the latest Billboard Hot Country Singles list.
Linda Blanchard, associate director of BSU's Hobson Memorial Union, said the band was available for the Bemidji concert because its national tour will bring Diamond Rio into the Midwest this month.
"We can only offer one event per year, so we try to have a variety of music from year to year," Blanchard said, noting last year's event featured a rock group. The event is underwritten by student activity fees and ticket sales.
Diamond Rio's national tour, designed to promote the CD release, will move to Clear Lake, Iowa, the following night, according to the band's Web site.
Known for its "bluegrass sensibilities and close harmonies," Diamond Rio has won numerous Vocal Group of the Year awards from the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music.
The academy this year has nominated Diamond Rio for another Vocal Group of the Year award, the winner of which will be announced in early May.
It also has racked up seven Grammy nominations, and each of its seven albums has reached gold (500,000 record sales) or platinum (1 million sales) levels, according to its promotional materials.
The group, which started as the bluegrass Tennessee River Boys in the mid-1980s, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in April 1998.
Led by singer Marty Roe, the band includes Gene Johnson on mandolin and harmony vocals; Jimmy Olander on lead guitar; Brian Prout on drums; Dan Truman on keyboards; and Dana Williams on bass guitar and harmony vocals.
Surprisingly, the band does not write its own songs, relying instead on a core of songwriters that includes Academy Award-winner Paul Williams and Grammy-winners Jon Vezner, Gordon Kennedy, Tommy Sims and Will Jennings.
Diamond Rio has also drawn its material from a variety of rock and country stars, according to the band's promotional materials.
Tickets for the Bemidji event are $20 for BSU students and $23 for the public in advance, $25 at the gate. They are available in Brainerd at The Gallery at 222 Seventh St.
Blanchard said she expects a sell-out, but sales are "a little slow at the moment, which is normal."
BSU students are expected to purchase about half the 3,400 tickets, leaving the remainder for the public, she said.
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