Whelp, we just had our first country music COVID-19-related fatality. Joe Diffie, 61, died yesterday of complications related to COVID-19. (And John Prine is in the hospital in critical condition. Ugh.) People who don’t know who Joe Diffie is (what kind of asshole brags about not knowing who someone is, let alone after they die?) missed an artist who kind of epitomized 90s country.
Contemporary radio country music is descended from 90s country, only with, like, a lot of inbreeding. You can see the resemblance, but side-by-side comparison shows that the newer is a degraded, deformed simulacrum of the older. Joe Diffie recorded a lot of slightly stupid songs about John Deere and drinking beer and pickup trucks. But, unlike contemporary songs that sound like they were written by soulless drones who have heard a lot of songs about farms but never actually been to one, Diffie’s hits were witty, real, and fun. (How is that contemporary country music is so joyless?)
Diffie was also damned good at goofy romance. The heart in his songs always shows through.
Country music has been the music of the income-limited simple life, and Diffie never forgot it. He wasn’t afraid of a little fiddle, neither.
Prop Joe up beside the jukebox. We all need to raise a stiff drink in his honor.