Hello again everyone!
In this post I want to talk about another artist that passed away recently due to COVID-19. Joe Diffie made a huge impact on country music and had numerous Top 40 hits in the 90's, along with five number 1 songs on the "Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart." These hits included "Home," "If the Devil Danced in Empty Pockets," "Third Rock from the Sun," "Pickup Man," and "Bigger than the Beatles." Anyone who listened to country radio in the 90's, would definitely recognize at least one of these songs when it came on. He has been referred to as a "Neo-traditionalist because he had a voice that resembled that of George Jones with a rockin' edge. His songs ranged from heartbreaking, old school country ballads to upbeat hard driving songs about displaying your love for a girl on a water tower. He was a Grammy Award winner, Academy of Country Music Award winner, and was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2002. He was an amazing singer/songwriter and will be greatly missed.
Joe Diffie was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to a very musical family. They moved around all over the country until his third year of high school when they came back to Velma, OK where Joe finished school. He played in a gospel and bluegrass band, various bars, and VFW halls before finally moving to Nashville in the late 80's. He recorded demos for songwriters and worked at the Gibson Guitar Corportion until quitting to record demos full time and concentrate on writing.
This brings us to the area of his life I would like to concentrate on; his writing. While Joe Diffie had a lot of chart success in his career as a singer, he was quite an amazing songwriter. He had quite a few songs recorded by various artists including Tim McGraw, Joe Dee Messina, Conway Twitty, and Tracy Lawrence. He even had some of his own songs go #1 for himself. In Nashville it is a rare thing for a songwriter to be able to record their own songs and release them as singles let alone have chart success with them. This puts Joe Diffie ahead of so many in the fact that he could sing and write. He was a remarkable talent, and I would like to share in this post some of the songs he wrote that might surprise you.
This first song is "Tears in the Rain" recorded by Tim McGraw. It is such a well written song and has a haunting minor key intro into each verse. It is a little different than what Joe Diffie was known for recording; which shows the layers of artistry this man possessed.
Now anyone who loves country music knows how big of a deal Conway Twitty was. The man had a very soulful voice that made any song he sang his own. It was considered a great privilege to a songwriter to have him record one of your songs. I didn't know until researching more on Joe Diffie, but he had a song recorded by Conway called "I'm the Only Thing I'll Hold Against You." It was on his last studio album which was released after his death in 1993.
Now ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty.
Now to show the versatility of Joe Diffie and his writing, here is "My Give A Damn's Busted" which went to #1 on the "Billboard Hot Country Songs" Chart for Jo Dee Messina.
This next song is an upbeat hard driving song called "I Got a Feelin" and was recorded by Tracy Lawrence. It has some really clever lyrics and definitely deserves a listen.
It goes to show while Joe Diffie may have been known for "John Deere Green" and "Pickup Man," his life's work has a lot of diversity. He was a country artist to the core, but didn't let that stop him from collaborating with more modern artists. This next song "Girl Ridin' Shotgun," is a perfect example of this in response to Jason Aldean's song "1994" where he references Joe Diffie and his songs.
Now personally I was never a country rap fan, but I thought it was pretty cool that Joe Diffie being known for his traditional country sound collaborated to create this song.
The last song I would like to leave you with is a Joe Diffie song performed by Joe Diffie. This song made it to #2 on the "Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart," and is one of my personal favorites... New Way to Light Up an Old Flame.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this and listen to this artist's wonderful contributions to the music world. I hope y'all enjoyed it. See ya next time.