This is a tough one for many reasons. Joe Diffie passed away this weekend, from Covid-19. Tough because of the way, his age, and the fact his talent was universally recognized in Country Music as amazing. And he was lauded by his peers, for years. I played every Joe Diffie song - proudly.
I loved listening to Diffie sing a country song. It was about that simple. He had a great line of hits in the 1990's, and a few number ones, but numbers aren't the story behind Diffie. He was up against the heavy hitters of the era, George Strait, Garth, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Brooks And Dunn, Shania, and others who dominated the headlines and charts in those days. Diffie was more in the Mark Chestnut, Doug Stone, Tracey Lawrence, Terri Clark catalog. Stars that made great songs, had a bunch of hits, but were overshadowed by the titans of the era.
But he found a niche of fun country anthems, a couple of almost parody songs, and some that were flat out gut-wrenchers. You see, his versatlity was enviable, and damn rare. In fact, it was far beyond damn rare. And it stood alone as the best in the format in his era. Most of those titans would tell you the same thing. Joe Diffie knew where the notes were, and he found them perfectly, no matter what he was singing.
Country Songs Don't Get Much Bigger Than This!
His very colorful life off the stage is worth a Google search. But his life in our format was terrific. I always looked forward to a new Diffie song in those days, because you didn't know what style you were gonna get. But, you did know you were going to get a great song. That was Diffie's calling card. He stated that again and again. He was always looking for great SONGS. And great songs for HIM. Things every artist should really keep in mind. Too many in our format don't adhere to that simple rule. Many times we don't really believe the words being sung by an artist in order to get out as many hits as possible.
Almost A Parody Song, But Still A Fun Message..
Diffie though was disciplined in that regard. He recorded "Joe Diffie Songs." And history will kindly remember that. Most of his songs, you can't imagine anyone else singing. THAT was the essence of Diffie. A rare holding of the line, thinking more was not more. Better was more.
And A Good Old Fashioned Gut-Wrencher!
Rest easy Joe. We will remember you - Always. Because you made it impossible for us not to.