Music Monday: RIP Joe Diffie

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.

4 thoughts on “Music Monday: RIP Joe Diffie

  1. My husband and I sat next to Joe Diffie and his wife–I think it was his wife–at the Rolling Stones concert at Vanderbilt Stadium in ’98. He was a perfect gentleman. I liked “If The Devil Danced in Empty Pockets” quiet a lot. It reminded me a bit of Asleep at the Wheel, a group I love. I also liked “So Help Me Girl.” I was sorry to hear he’d passed. I didn’t know John Prine was ill. I hate that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny you mention Asleep at the Wheel. I always associate them with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys because of that tribute album they did. I was just listening to If The Devil Danced in Empty Pockets (again) and the line about the “nine foot grand, a ten piece band and a twelve girl chorus line” made me think of Bob Wills, because that was a big as country bands ever got. And, sure enough, as soon as I make that connection in my mind I hear a subtle Bob Wills-style “aha!” . . . stuck in there, I’m sure, as a conscious nod toward the king.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah, Asleep at the Wheel is unabashedly, heavily influenced by Bob Wills. And, I must admit, I prefer them to Bob Wills. I know that’s sacrilege–especially for someone from Texas– but that’s how I feel, none-the-less.

        Liked by 1 person

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