Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Mess: The Story of Diamond Rio (by Diamond Rio with Tom Roland)

I'm a country music fan, and in fact, I'm a Diamond Rio fan. Ever since the early 90's, when my H.S. boyfriend, Brad, played country all the time in his toyota truck. I lived in Seattle, and Brad is Korean, so even though country in a truck are stereotypical, neither of us were stereotypical country fans.

However, despite my enjoyment of country music, I don't really know much about bands in general and less about band members. So were it not for my work in reviewing books for Thomas Nelson, I would not probably have heard of, let alone read, this book.

"Beautiful Mess" is a memior about how Diamond Rio got started as a group, how each individual member came to be a part of the band, and how the group rallied after lead singer and frontman Marty Roe began to have trouble carrying a tune.

Right up front, I'll tell you that I'm giving this book about a 2 1/2 mandolins out of 5. If I were a huge Diamond Rio fan and knew the band members and had gone to all their concerts, then I'm sure this book is a 4. I am not that person. So as an average reader who likes their music, but isn't really sure why they're putting out a book, its just average. High points: learning about the various paths that people take to become a band, reading funny stories about Opryland, and gaining insight into how the group communicated and rallied to regain their old form. Low points: after reading the book, I still can't really tell you who is who and who is married to/divorced from whom - and I'm not that worried about figuring it out.

Ultimately, if you are a big Diamond Rio fan, you will be encouraged and entertained by this story. And if you attended their shows in the late 90's and wondered why they sounded bad, this book will answer those questions for you and make you buy tickets for any upcoming show to see them redeem themselves. However, if you are not any of the above type of people, I'd say avoid it and read the biographies/memiors that have inspired me including: "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller and/or "Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur" by Frank Houghton.


Candice said...

I'm trying to think of a song that they sing... nope, can't think of one. I can't say that I knew you were a country music fan. Nice. I (against my husband's wishes) have some country too. :)

Tiffani R said...

I mostly listen to the following genres: Christian Contemporary, Country, and 80's pop (with a small bit of current pop mixed in). You totally know a few of their songs - for sure you've heard "Meet in the Middle" which was their breakout hit.

I can't believe Collin doesn't like Country music - I feel like it has everything he would like in a musical genre - drama, story, love, broken hearts, singability.

Its time he started embracing his oklahoma-ness.