Country Music Community Remembers Joe Diffie

Many artists and music industry members have offered tributes and memories of the late ’90s country hitmaker Joe Diffie, who died Sunday (March 29) of complications from COVID-19.

Luke Combs shared a photo of himself and Diffie, who inducted Combs into the Grand Ole Opry in 2019.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Damn… this seems like yesterday, can’t believe you’re gone. Rest In Peace @officialjoediffie you were a legend.

A post shared by Luke Combs 🎤 (@lukecombs) on

Fellow ’90s country star Mark Chesnutt shared a touching tribute on Instagram, as well.

George Strait offered his memories on Twitter, along with prayers for everyone affected by COVID-19.

Travis Tritt also offered condolences and memories of working with Diffie.

Several others in the music community also offered their words of remembrance and admiration for the star.

“I’m heartbroken and in shock just like all of you over this awful news. Joe Diffie possessed one of the most incredible pure country voices on the planet, and he was always so much fun to be around. My prayers are with his family at this sad time. Rest In Peace ol’ pal.”
Steve Wariner

“I was saddened to hear that my friend and fellow Grand Ole Opry member Joe Diffie passed away today. Joe was a great singer, songwriter, and entertainer that left his mark in country music. His clear voice and unique singing style made him immediately recognizable. We will all certainly miss him.”
Ricky Skaggs

“We are feeling it now. Oklahoma boy Joe Diffie has passed away from this virus. My kids grew up around his parents. My prayers will be with his family. A great traditional voice will live on cuz I’m putting his music on now. Here’s a beer to ya, Joe. Go get your reward.”
Toby Keith

“Just got word that Joe Diffie has passed away. Sincere condolences to his family. It’s such a shock and such a loss for country music. Rest in Peace, Joe.”
Charlie Daniels

“What a sad weekend for our country music and Grand Ole Opry families with the passing of Jan Howard and now Joe Diffie. Joe was a great singer…his record of ‘Ships That Don’t Come In’ is one of my all-time favorite performances. I always knew when I introduced him at the Opry that the fans were about to be well entertained. Joe will certainly be missed.”
Bill Anderson

“Beyond sadness. Beyond a loss for words. My thoughts and prayers for his family and fans.”
Billy Ray Cyrus

“So tragic to hear that another great legend’s voice has gone silent. He was and will remain one of country music’s great vocalists. It’s truly a sad day for our industry. Joe please tell our friends Kenny Rogers and Jan Howard we love them and to send down a prayer for all of us during this difficult time on earth. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Tara and their family.”
T.G. Sheppard

“I am deeply saddened at the news of Joe Diffie’s death. He and I were labelmates on Sony Epic Records for many years. We worked together a lot over the years. I can honestly say that Joe was one of the truly good guys in our business. A real gentleman, and obviously, one of the greatest country music singers who ever lived. His records, ‘Home’ and ‘Ships That Don’t Come In’ are among my favorite records of all time. I am honored, and humbled, to have known him. May God bless and comfort Joe’s family and welcome him into eternity. We’ll miss you, brother.”
Collin Raye

“I am in total shock and disbelief at the passing of my friend, tourmate and country legend, Joe Diffie. My heart is broken and I’m praying for his family and for our country as we deal with this horrible pandemic. You will be missed, Joe. Rest in Peace.”
Aaron Tippin

“I keep saying almost every night on stage Joe Diffie is the best country voice in country music today. Gonna miss Joe. God bless him. Love you brother.”
Sammy Kershaw

“Sometimes I hear bad news, and over and over again in that cold empty space, I think if I wait a minute or two, the news will change, but it’s final. Joe Diffie, one of our best singers and my buddy, is gone. We are the same age, so it’s very scary. I will miss his voice, his laughter, his songs. My thoughts go out to his entire family. I’ll love you always Joe and am so grateful you were in my life.”
Tanya Tucker

“I knew this was bound to hit close to home. Today it did. I just heard the news of Joe Diffie’s passing. I am sick in my spirit because I can’t bear the thought of not hearing that voice for a while. He was a dear friend and he understood me and my convictions. Most of all, he accepted me for who I am and I felt the same about him. There’s no filling his shoes and he will be missed by many. I loved him like a brother, and I’m thankful that I know where he is. My brother, I look forward to seeing your sweet face again. Please pray for the family and loved ones devastated by this terrible loss.”
Darryl Worley

“One of the best artists ’90s country ever served up. I worked fairs all over the country with Joe. It’s sort of like losing a classmate. Recently he sang a song with me, Lorrie Morgan and Darryl Worley, ‘Summer Wine.’ It was a perfect performance. He never hit a bad note and was just a regular guy. We all loved him. RIP, Joe Diffie.”
Pam Tillis

“I am very sad to hear the news of the passing of Joe Diffie. His traditional sounding voice had a soothing timber and I enjoyed hearing him sing. He recorded songs that touched everyday folks and for me it was his recording of ‘Ships That Don’t Come In’ that changed my life. The song and his delivery were the inspiration that led me to come to Nashville to work at taking my music to a larger audience. I will be forever grateful to Joe for following his dreams of being a singer and for recording a song that fueled my dreams. I will miss you Joe.”
John Berry

“Extremely hard to lose two Opry family members within two days, Jan Howard, and now Joe Diffie. Joe brought a special energy with his music, not only to radio but to the Grand Ole Opry. He’s always had a distinctive country sound, but updated to fit his generation. His personality matched his music – warm, friendly, energetic and fun. It just always felt good to see him. Everything about Joe Diffie will be missed and my heart goes out to his family, our Opry family and his many fans around the world.”
Jeannie Seely

“Joe was much more than a great country singer. He was a great song guy as well. He also knew how to put on a show. I will miss you, my friend.”
Teddy Gentry on behalf of ALABAMA

“Joe was a character. A great singer of songs and always had a story or joke to make you smile. I’ll miss crossing paths with him every year on the road, and my heart goes out to his family.”
John Anderson

“Shocked and heartbroken to hear of old friend Joe Diffie’s death from COVID-19. Prayers for his family.”
Exile 

“I am so saddened to be reading the news of my friend Joe Diffie’s death. His family is in my prayers. I can’t imagine the sadness and shock they must feel. I told someone a little while ago that this loss is a kick in the gut! The virus may seem like a mystery and even far away to most of us, BUT to Joe’s family it is a very real thief that has stolen their husband and father and brother or sister. This brings it too close to our circle.”
Linda Davis

“So saddened to hear the news of our dear friend, Joe Diffie. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe’s family and loved ones during this time.”
Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry

“I really stopped in my tracks for the first time when I got the news of Joe passing away. We spoke a week ago and he said, ‘Don’t worry, Colt, I’m gonna be fine.’ He was one of the best country singers I have ever heard, and an even better guy. Rest Easy, Joe.”
Colt Ford

“We are devastated to hear about the passing of Joe Diffie today. We met Joe and became friends with him right after his first hits in the early 1990s. We will miss him so much and are sending our prayers to his family.”
– David Bellamy, Bellamy Brothers

“I’m heartbroken to hear that my friend, Joe Diffie, has passed at just 61. I had so much admiration for Joe. He was a wonderful friend and a super talented singer and songwriter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to name some of my favorite younger country singers and over the years, Joe Diffie was always one on the top of the list. Whenever we worked a show together, I always wanted to stand on the side and listen. We have lost one of the best country singers that ever lived.”
– Gene Watson

“The minute I heard ‘Pickup Man,’ I thought, what a perfect song for him! He was a good ole boy’, all around kinda guy. He was like TV’s Tim Allen from Home Improvement. Relatable and kind. Country music lost one of the good guys today.”
– Naomi Judd

“We just lost one of the best singers this town has ever known. My thoughts and prayers are with Joe Diffie’s family.”
– Phil Vassar

“Joe Diffie was a true singer’s singer! His passing is heartbreaking to say the least… I was about 20 years old when Joe sent me a MySpace message complimenting my music. I remember where I was and what I was doing when I received it. As a struggling singer in Nashville, his words alone inspired me enough to stay at it! I am beside myself with this news and really have no more words.”
– Billy Droze

“This is truly heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Diffie family. Joe Diffie’s music has impacted so many of our careers. Every time I see a jukebox I will forever see and hear Joe Diffie. He will be forever missed.”
– Lucas Hoge

“Joe Diffie was a classic country artist and songwriter. His voice oozed American country tones and he will truly be missed not just in our country, but around the world too.”
– Taylor Hicks

“Joe Diffie. A great friend. A great man. A great singer. A GREAT loss.”
– Larry Gatlin, The Gatlin Brothers

“I’m so sorry to hear about Joe Diffie’s passing. We always met with a smile and we’ll see each other again with a smile.”
– Doug Gray, The Marshall Tucker Band

“Joe Diffie, he was a singer’s singer. I have been a fan since his first single, ‘Home,’ hit radio. Condolences to the family. He will be missed in our hearts as well.”
– Marty Raybon, Shenandoah

“So sad to hear the news of Joe Diffie’s passing today. He and I were both born on the same day, December 28, 1958. We would always talk about that when we were around each other. Rest in peace, my brother. You will be missed.”
– Mike McGuire, Shenandoah

“I’m so sad to hear of the passing of a brother in music, Joe Diffie. What a voice! We have worked around each other for decades. Really one of the good guys. I’m so shocked. Thoughts for his family, his team and friends from myself and the entire Restless Heart family!”
– Larry Stewart, Restless Heart

“First we lose the legendary Jan Howard, and now we’ve lost Joe Diffie. It’s a heartbreaking time for Nashville and country music fans worldwide. Restless Heart started out in the business around the same time as Joe, and our paths crossed many times over the years. Joe blended humor and music better than anybody, and he always went out of his way to be kind and supportive. Sending our love and prayers to Joe’s family and friends.”
– Dave Innis, Restless Heart

“I don’t really know if people realize how great a singer Joe Diffie was. We were buddies before we ever had our record deals. He had a great sense humor. He proved that to me when he recorded a funny tune I wrote called ‘Good Brown Gravy’ and invited me to sing on the record with him. Joe Diffie set the standard for our country sound back in the 90’s. He was just a regular Joe, as he would put it, but he also will go down in history as one of the greats, I do believe.”
– Billy Dean

“Joe was a simple man with a very kind heart. His aptitude and soulful command of a country song was unparalleled. The memories of sharing the stage with him are indelible. We all love you Joe, and our heart breaks for you and your loved ones.”
– Henry Paul, BlackHawk / The Outlaws

“His album, Average Joe, was not a made up record company marketing idea. Joe was common as dirt and he never changed. He always loved it when he and the Kentucky Headhunters got to play together, he always said we made the day fun for him. Here’s to a real country guy who could sing with the best of them. Peace, Joe.”
– Richard Young, The Kentucky Headhunters

“Joe Diffie’s music IS 90’s Country. His presence in the music business was iconic, his voice and look were instantly recognizable, and his songs were the soundtrack of so many lives… especially ours.”
– Joe and Martina

“Joe Diffie always had a ready smile and something good to say. Without a doubt, he was a great, natural country singer and his many friends and fans are going to really miss him. God Bless and comfort his family at this sad time. Here we are recording the CMA Vocal Event of the Year, ‘I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair.’ Rest In Peace, old friend.”
T. Graham Brown

“The loss of Joe Diffie was a shock!! I was just processing the news that he was diagnosed with Covid-19 when in just a few days he was gone. Yes, his incredible country voice will be missed (I have been listening to him all morning) but man Joe was one of the good guys. He was always nice to everyone and everyone loved him. My prayers today are for his family and for John Prine.”
Joe Bonsall of The Oak Ridge Boys

“Sadly we lost another great country singer this week, my friend Joe Diffie… this time to the coronavirus – hard to believe. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest In Peace!”
Lee Greenwood

“Without a doubt Joe Diffie was one of the most authentic and greatest voices country music has ever known! A beloved member of the Grand Ole Opry, he was also one of the sweetest people on earth! Joe’s sudden departure is a huge loss and has left all of us broken-hearted and stunned. My prayers are with his family.”
Deborah Allen

“The voices in Heaven just keep getting sweeter. So saddened to hear of the passing of Grand Ole Opry Star Joe Diffie. One of country music’s greatest voices. The last time I saw Joe was in a Nashville restaurant. I am honored to have sang harmony on his bluegrass CD. A song titled ‘Route 5 Box 109.’ Our deepest sympathy for Joe’s family. Rest In Peace Joe, you’ve made it ‘Home.'”
Rhonda Vincent

“I’m so saddened to hear about Joe Diffie. I worked shows with him on many occasions and what a great guy and great talent he was. Many prayers for his family & friends.”
Janie Fricke

“I am so shocked and saddened that Joe has passed. So tragic. Joe was a great singer and a great songwriter and I loved his records. I always loved the shows we played together and running into Joe at the Opry. I will miss my friend.”
Crystal Gayle

“My heart is battered and bruised today from the loss of two of my musical heroes, but I am trying to concentrate instead on the joy that they brought to the lives of their friends and fans. I had the honor of playing with Joe Diffie many times over the course of my career. Joe’s voice was the quintessential country voice. He could tear out your heart, or he could make you forget your troubles for a while. When Joe sang a song, that song had been sung.”
Tim Atwood

“Rest In Peace! Another great one gone too soon! He was a co-writer on my new single that we have right now called ‘Love Me To Death.’ So sad!”
Shane Owens

“So saddened by the passing of my friend Joe Diffie! His songs span my entire childhood into my high school/college years. I was just getting ready to write with him for the first time. So many prayers to his wife Tara and family!”
JD Shelburne

“As a classic/ 90’s country fan and lover of all things country music, it breaks my heart so much to hear of both Jan Howard and Joe Diffie passing away over the weekend. Country music fans all around the world are truly mourning more than just the loss of these staples, but the loss of these creative spirits still giving back to the unstoppable machine that is country music. They will truly be missed, but their love for music will live on forever through the great lyrics they spent their lives putting their heart and soul into. God bless them and their families!”
Paige King Johnson

“Tough times just got tougher with the passing of two great country legends. Both Jan Howard and Joe Diffie are icons in this genre. I’ll forever remember driving down the road with my father singing along to Joe Diffie. Such a tragedy, but thank you for the memories.”
Austin Merrill

Comments

Powered by Facebook Comments

Follow MusicRow on Twitter

Category: Featured

About the Author

LB Cantrell is Project Manager at MusicRow magazine. She heads up specific, large-scale projects for the company and assists in day-to-day tasks. LB also manages the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart and contributes editorial for both the print and online platforms. She joined MusicRow full time in January of 2019, after interning and working part time for the company for a year. She is from Blairsville, Georgia and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Music Business degree in 2018.

View Author Profile