On March 27, 2020, Joe Diffie announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Just two days later, the announcement came that Diffie passed due to complications from the disease. What he left behind was 12 albums and countless country classics. We pulled together a list of our top 10 Joe Diffie songs to celebrate the life and music of a great musician and friend to country music. Rest in Peace, Joe Diffie.
10) “That Road Not Taken”
As soon as you hear the opening line “Yesterday I missed my exit on my way to Sears” to know you’re in for a great country song. As the story unfolds, it questions what would have happened if things had gone differently in a relationship. Most of us have been there, so it hits close to home. The way this song builds both instrumentally and vocally are so well done.
“Home” is how Joe Diffie introduced himself to us in 1990, and what a strong introduction it was. Mark Chesnutt said immediately upon hearing the song, he had to reach out to Diffie because he loved the song so much. It’s an easy song to love with the vocal and message behind the song. This got the wheels rolling towards a decades long career.
8) “Don’t Our Love Look Natural”
By the time 1999 came along, a more pop-infused sound was dominating country radio as George Strait and Alan Jackson sang about in “Murder on Music Row.” Upon the opening steel like of this song from Diffie’s 1999 album A Night to Remember, Diffie proved he wasn’t giving in, and gave us a song with great country instrumentation and a great country vocal.
7) “Honky Tonk Attitude”
What a fun song this is. The honky tonk piano and steel drive the song, and Diffie injects the energy into it with his vocal. It’s an anthemic type of song that is sure to get people moving as soon as that guitar kicks in.
6) “In My Own Backyard”
By the time “In My Own Backyard” was released a single in early 1994, Diffie had already established himself as a friend to the traditional country music community. He furthered that friendship with this final single from the Honky Tonk Attitude album, which reminds us to value what we have while we have it. It’s just a solid country song.
5) “Is It Cold in Here”
Released in the midst of his streak of massive radio success, “Is It Cold In Here” is a traditional country music fan’s dream. The song is dripping with steel and fiddle, and questions why a lover is feeling distant. Did it reinvent the wheel? Of course not, but did Diffie provide an excellent country tune with an even more excellent vocal? Absolutely.
4) “Wild Blue Yonder”
Have you ever felt the need to just get away from life for a second and reset? The relatable message here keeps us coming back for more, and allows us to step away from life and get lost in the music, even if only for a brief second.
3) “Somethin’ Like This”
Released in 1997, “Somethin’ Like This” describes falling and being in love as a dance, and sometimes you have to learn along the way, but you know it just feels right. It’s the simile here and Diffie’s excellent delivery that make this song memorable, and leaves us all with the hope that we can find that person some day.
2) “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)”
As much as country music is about love lost and clever lyricism, it is also about injecting humor, and Diffie was excellent at it. The absurdity of this song and video are so great, and have become a honky tonk anthem since its release. It’s a good timing song, and it’s something we could all use right now.
1) “Twice Upon a Time”
The lyrics of this song are so special; a Kim Williams specialty. There are several standout moments of this song, but the one the sticks out most to us is the line “The choice is ours, the pen’s still in our hands. We can right the wrong, or we can write the end,” that makes us mad we didn’t write it. Diffie delivered the song so perfectly. It was never released as a single, but it been our favorite Joe Diffie song since the first time we heard it. This song is what a country music lyric and delivery should be.