It’s a new chapter for Diamond Rio, and a pretty significant one at that. The historic band just released the video for the instrumental track, “The Kick,” which features two new members, including the group’s first female member, Carson McKee, who joins the band as a fiddle player and harmony singer, and Micah Schweinsberg, who is Diamond Rio’s new drummer.
McKee replaces Gene Johnson, and Schweinsberg replaces Brian Prout, two of the founding members of Diamond Rio, who have both retired. The two new additions join the four remaining founding members: Marty Roe, Jimmy Olander, Dana Williams and Dan Truman.
“Carson was not what we were looking for to start,” Roe acknowledges. “We wanted another Gene, but that doesn’t exist. Carson is an amazing young musician and we are so lucky to have her. She can sing as high as Gene, which was hard to find, and her vocals blend so well with mine and Dana’s. She also brings an energy to the stage that keeps us old guys on our toes.”
Carson was first asked to sub for Johnson, while preparing for six college exams, and with only four days to learn their entire set list. It was a challenge she heartily accepted, which is what ultimately led to her new role as part of the iconic vocal band.
“Let me just say that Gene Johnson, you are my hero,” she says. “Growing up, you were my hero, will always be my hero, and 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. You left some very high standards.”
Schweinsberg had already subbed in for Diamond Rio for several shows, which made him a natural fit when a position became available.
“Micah is an unbelievable musician,” Roe says. “He brings renewed energy to our live performances. Over the years, Micah had subbed in at various shows and developed a friendship that would ultimately land him the open position.
“Being in Diamond Rio, for me, is the story of a young musician who eventually got to be in his favorite band,” adds Schweinsberg. “I have admired the talent of Diamond Rio for over 30 years. I tell people constantly that I’ll always be a fan of this band first, whether I’m in it or not.”
Diamond Rio’s self-titled debut album came out in 1991, kicking off an award-winning career that is still going strong, thanks in large part to the contributions of Prout and Johnson.
“Brian is the most musical drummer I’ve ever played with and Gene brought a uniqueness that will never be fully replaced,” Roe says. “Diamond Rio’s vocal sound would not be the same without him. I will forever be grateful for the priceless contributions of my two partners. We all wish them well in their retirement.”
Find “The Kick” and all of Diamond Rio’s music and upcoming shows at DiamondRio.com.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Aristo PR / Robby Klein