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

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library To Stream Bedtime Stories From Dolly

Dolly Parton. Photo: Rob Hoffman

Dolly Parton will be reading a children’s book for bedtime in a series entitled “Goodnight With Dolly” on the Imagination Library’s social media channels over the next 10 weeks beginning April 2 at 7 p.m. ET.

“Goodnight With Dolly” will feature Parton reading a series of Imagination Library books including “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake” by Loren Long, “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney, “I Am a Rainbow” by Dolly Parton, “Pass It On” by Sophy Henn, “Stand Tall Molly Lou Mellon” by Patty Lovell, “Violet the Pilot” by Steve Breen, “Max & The Tag-Along Moon” by Floyd Cooper , “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña, “Coat of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton, and of course, “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper.

“This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right,” said Parton. “I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love. It is an honor for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators. They make us smile, they make us laugh and they make us think.”

Additionally, the documentary about her Imagination Library, The Library That Dolly Built, will open nationally the week of Sept. 21 to commemorate the Library’s 25th anniversary. Since its inception in 1995, the Imagination Library has gifted more than 135 million books to children and is currently gifting books to 1.5 million children around the world each month.

Directed and produced by journalism professor and director of Land Grant Films Nick Geidner, and narrated by Danica McKellar, The Library That Dolly Built, goes behind the scenes of Parton’s literacy-focused non-profit, Imagination Library, to show how one of the most famous and beloved performers in the world has developed an efficient and effective program for spreading the love of reading. Imagination Library started as a gift for the children in Dolly’s hometown, Sevierville, TN, and is now active in all 50 states, and five countries, gifting 1.5 million free, age-appropriate books to children every month. The film also provides a glimpse of the profound impact the Imagination Library has on the people through original interviews with authors, policymakers, Imagination Library staff, recipients, and Parton herself.

Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood Set CBS Concert For April 1


Last week, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood performed an intimate concert of cover songs via Facebook Live; the show drew 3.4 million viewers, enough to crash the site several times during their show. During the concert, Brooks & Yearwood also took viewer requests, performing a rendition of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born.

The concert’s massive viewership caught the attention of CBS, and the couple inked a deal to star in a prime-time CBS special, which will air live on CBS from their home recording studio.

Brooks and Yearwood will take song requests for the show; fans can learn how to make requests tonight (March 30) during Brooks’ weekly Facebook Live show, Inside Studio G.

Garth & Trisha: Live By Request! will air April 1 on CBS at 9 p.m. EST.

Brooks, Yearwood and CBS will also donate $1 million to organizations that are helping with coronavirus relief efforts.

Jonathan Singleton Moves Into Top Five On MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart


Jonathan Singleton moves up two spots into the top five on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart, with the songs “Die From A Broken Heart” (Maddie & Tae), “I Hope You’re Happy Now” (Carly Pearce and Lee Brice) and “In Between” (Scotty McCreery) fueling his rise.

Ross Copperman remains at No. 1, and Josh Osborne and Craig Wiseman maintain their No. 2 and No. 3 positions.

The weekly MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart, published every week, uses algorithms based upon song activity according to airplay, digital downloaded track sales and streams. This unique and exclusive addition to the MusicRow portfolio is the only songwriter chart of its kind.

Click here to view the full MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart.

Wendy Pearl Relaunches PR Company

Wendy Pearl. Photo: Donn Jones

Wendy Pearl has relaunched her boutique PR agency Wendy Pearl Public Relations, LLC.

The company reopens with clients Mandy Barnett, the Georgia Music Foundation’s annual “Georgia On My Mind” concert event, and the “I Believe In Nashville” campaign, which is currently focusing on raising funds for tornado victims in Middle Tennessee.

Pearl began WPPR in January 2017 after 17 years as the head of communications for the Country Music Association. In 2018, she shuttered the company to return to Sony Music Nashville as Vice President of Media, where she worked with Old Dominion, Matt Stell, and Ryan Hurd, among others.

“Being an advocate for the artists and causes I believe in has been the foundation of my company,” said Pearl. “A pivotal time for our industry with so many challenges ahead, there are incredible stories that deserve and need to be told. I’m ready to use the experience I’ve gained at major labels, television networks, and CMA to give dimension and context to the creators and music I love.”

Pearl began her career at The Miami Herald, and also guided the label media departments for Sony Music Nashville and Asylum Records, as well as country television network TNN, in addition to her time at the Country Music Association. While at CMA, Pearl and her editorial team won the Award of Excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators for CMA’s quarterly CMA Close Up magazine.

King Pen Music, Warner Chappell Music Nashville Expand Partnership

King Pen Music and Warner Chappell Music Nashville have expanded their business partnership. Previously, the two companies partnered to work with three-time CMA Vocal Duo of the Year winners Brothers Osborne. King Pen Music recently signed songwriter Ava Suppelsa.

Kelly King launched King Pen Music in 2011, signing Brothers Osborne as the first act and then adding to the roster with Pete Good and Brandon Ratcliff. The company’s catalog of songs would grow to include tracks recorded by Darius Rucker, Little Big Town, Brothers Osborne, Walker Hayes, Tim McGraw, and others. King also leads A&R for artists including Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, James Otto, Joe Nichols and more. King Pen’s Creative Manager Harrison Sokoloff guides the company in offering a range of creative services for artists from newcomers to superstars.

Kelly King, Harrison Sokoloff.


King launched her career in 1994, serving as Creative Director for companies including AVI Entertainment and Hayes Street Music. She also worked as partner for Teracel Music and My Good Girl Music, two Sony Music Nashville co-ventures.

“I am so excited to continue working with the team at Warner Chappell to expand my team here at King Pen Music,” said King. “I am always grateful for support and collaboration in finding and signing new talent and can’t wait to showcase everything these writers have to offer.”

“Kelly has proven over the years to have a true knack for identifying and developing talent,” said Ben Vaughn, President & CEO, Warner Chappell Music Nashville. “It’s been a pleasure to work with King Pen Music and I’m thrilled to continue our collaboration.”

Big Machine Distillery Aiding Nashville Community By Producing Hand Sanitizer

Big Machine Distillery is now producing hand sanitizer at the distillery’s Lynnville and Berry Hill locations that they are donating to local first responders – police officers, EMTs, and firefighters – in a time when vital supplies are low.

Last Friday (3/27) first responders from the Berry Hill Police Department, Hendersonville Fire Department, Ashland City Police Department, Belle Meade Police Department, Gallatin Police Department, Nashville Fire Department, Franklin Fire Department, Dickson County Sheriff’s Department and Brentwood Police Department visited the Big Machine Distillery & Tavern, where they were gifted dozens of 50 ml bottles of the hand sanitizer to distribute among their teams and communities.

Using the World Health Organization’s formula to ensure compliance with safety and efficacy standards, the sanitizer is 80% alcohol and manufactured in various sizes up to 55 gallon drums.

“It’s amazing to see a company like Big Machine and its employees and owners set profits and publicity aside for the better good of the community,” said Berry Hill Police Chief Tim Coleman in regards to the lack of hand sanitizer available.

“We feel fortunate to be in a position to serve our community during these challenging times. The ability to tap into the same base spirit we use to make our Big Machine Vodka has allowed us to quickly make hand sanitizer available for both our first responders and customers,” shared President and CEO of Big Machine Label Group and owner of the Big Machine Distillery & Tavern Scott Borchetta.

Complimentary 50 ml bottles of the sanitizer are available for their curb-side pickup and delivery customers, and larger quantities can also be purchased at both the Nashville and Lynnville locations or ordered online at talech.com/biz/ordering/130658/Big-Machine-Distillery-Tavern-Nashville-TN#/menu. Additionally, the tavern’s complete breakfast, lunch and dinner menus are now available and customers can order online and via DoorDash.

The distillery is also hiring workers for hand sanitizer production and delivery service, and more information on applying can be found at bigmachinedistillery.com.

JUST IN: MusicRow Announces New Date For Annual Rising Women On The Row

UPDATED: The Sept. 23 Rising Women on the Row event has been postponed due to due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Click here to see more details regarding the new event date and tickets.


MusicRow has rescheduled its ninth annual Rising Women on the Row breakfast event to Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the Omni Nashville Hotel, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The event, originally scheduled to take place in March, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event’s presenting sponsors are City National BankTri Star Sports & Entertainment Group, and Loeb & Loeb.

A special performance, sponsored by Radio Disney Country, will be confirmed at a later time. Likewise, CMT will make a special presentation at the event.

The ninth annual celebration will honor the 2020 Rising Women on the Row honorees: Jen Conger (FBMM, Business Manager), JoJamie Hahr (BBR Music Group/BMG, VP Marketing), Mandy Morrison (City National Bank, Vice President/Senior Relationship Manager), Missy Roberts (Universal Music Publishing Group, Senior Creative Director), Jennie Smythe (Girlilla Marketing, CEO) and Stephanie Wright (UMG Nashville, Senior VP, A&R).

Read more about the honorees here.

Past honorees include—2019: Janine Ebach, Kelly Janson, Meredith Jones, Lenore Kinder, Sandi Spika Borchetta, Jennifer Turnbow; 2018: Faithe Dillman, Leslie DiPiero, Becky Gardenhire, Lynn Oliver-Cline, Annie Ortmeier, Janet Weir; 2017: Tatum Allsep, Virginia Davis, Kerri Edwards, Kella Farris, Laura Hutfless, Juli Newton-Griffith; 2016: Abbey Adams, Amanda Cates, Cris Lacy, Leslie Roberts, Risha Rodgers; 2015: Kele Currier, Tiffany Dunn, Dawn Gates, Jensen Sussman, Lou Taylor; 2014: Julie Boos, Caryl Healey, Ebie McFarland, Alicia Pruitt, Kelly Rich; 2013: Cyndi Forman, Cindy Hunt, Beth Laird, Cindy Mabe, Brandi Simms; 2012: Shannan Hatch, Mary Hilliard Harrington, Heather McBee, Denise Stevens, Carla Wallace.

Tickets for the Rising Women event are closed at this time. 

Tickets will not be sold at the door. Current ticket holders can expect arrival details to come via email a week prior to the event.

For any questions regarding tickets and/or seating, contact LB Rogers at [email protected]

John Prine Hospitalized With Coronavirus Complications

John Prine

[Update: March 30, 2020, 11:16 a.m. CT]: Prine’s wife and manager, Fiona Whelan Prine, revealed that she has now recovered from COVID-19, and that John Prine is now listed in stable condition.
[Original post, March 29, 2020]:

Songwriters Hall of Fame member John Prine, 73, has been hospitalized and is in critical condition due to the sudden onset of symptoms of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

According to a post on Prine’s official social media accounts on Sunday (March 29), Prine was hospitalized on Thursday (March 26) and has been intubated. His wife Fiona Whelan Prine revealed her own COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this month.

Prine’s songs, such as “Sam Stone” and “Angel From Montgomery,” have influenced numerous artists and songwriters across country, folk, rock and Americana spheres. David Allan Coe made the Prine co-write “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” into a hit in the mid-’70s. Bonnie Raitt and Joe Walsh are among those who recorded “Angel From Montgomery,” while Joan Baez recorded “Hello In There.” The Highwaymen recorded the Prine/Steve Goodman track “The Twentieth Century is Almost Over.” Tammy Wynette recorded the Prine/Bobby Braddock tune “Unwed Fathers,” releasing the track in 1983.

In addition to being a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Prine is a four-time Grammy winner and has been nominated for membership into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has been nominated for two Country Music Association Awards (including in 1998 for penning George Strait’s “I Just Want To Dance With You,” and in 1992’s Vocal Event of the Year category as part of the group Buzzin’ Cousins—which also included John Mellencamp, Dwight Yoakam, Joe Ely,  and James McMurtry—for the film Falling from Grace).

Prine, who released his debut album in 1971, saw a career resurgence in recent years. In 2018, he was honored with BMI’s Troubadour Award. That same year, he released his first album in 13 years, titled The Tree of Forgiveness and recorded at Nashville’s RCA Studio A. The album brought the highest debut of Prine’s career, debuting at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200.
The full post from Prine’s social media account is below:

BREAKING: Joe Diffie Dies At 61 From Coronavirus Complications


Multi-million selling Grand Ole Opry star Joe Diffie passed away on Sunday, March 29, following a brief illness. Diffie, 61, announced last Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus. He has now become the first music star to die from the disease.

One of the biggest country hit makers of the 1990s, Joe Diffie had more than 20 Top 10 hits. They include such No. 1 smashes as “Home,” “Third Rock from the Sun” and “Pickup Man.” He holds four Gold Record awards and two Platinum ones for his albums.

He co-wrote nine of his hits as well as successful songs for Jo Dee Messina, Holly Dunn, Tim McGraw and Conway Twitty. During his career, he won both Grammy and CMA awards.

Known as a “singer’s singer,” he received praise from such greats as Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Gene Watson, Vern Gosdin, Liza Minelli, Garth Brooks, George Strait and Buck Owens. Diffie celebrated his 25th anniversary as an Opry star last year with a show including Vince Gill, Michael Ray and Ricky Skaggs.

Born Dec. 28, 1958 in Duncan, OK, Diffie was raised in a musical household. He was singing in gospel groups such as Higher Purpose by the time he was in high school. He spent four years as a member of the bluegrass band The Special Edition and made his recording debut by recording an album with that group in 1985.

While working at an iron foundry in Oklahoma, Diffie also ran a small recording studio. When the foundry laid him off and he went through a divorce, there was no reason not to start over in Nashville. He arrived in 1986.

Diffie took a job at the Gibson Guitar factory, then landed a staff songwriting gig on Music Row. Hank Thompson recorded his “Love on the Rocks” in 1988. Holly Dunn scored a big 1989 hit with his “There Goes My Heart Again.”

He also attracted attention for his vocals on demos for other songwriters. Diffie sang the demos of such future hits as “I’ve Cried My Last Tear for You” (Ricky Van Shelton), “Born Country” (Alabama), “You Don’t Count the Cost” (Billy Dean) and “I Cross My Heart” (George Strait). This led to a recording contract with Epic Records in 1990.

Joe Diffie’s first single was “Home,” which was notable as a debut disc that hit No. 1. In 1991-92, he scored successive hits with “If You Want Me To,” “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” “New Way (To Light Up an Old Flame),” “Is It Cold in Here,” and “Ships That Don’t Come In.” In 1992, he earned a Grammy nomination for “Not Too Much to Ask,” his duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter. He was also nominated as the CMA Male Vocalist that year.

Diffie won a CMA Award in 1993 for “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair,” recorded with George Jones and other guest vocalists. His songwriting continued to make waves as “I’m the Only Thing (I’ll Hold Against You)” and “Memory Lane” both became 1993 singles, for Conway Twitty and Tim McGraw, respectively. Also in 1993, Joe Diffie was inducted into the Opry cast and co-hosted the International Bluegrass Music Association’s award show (a gig he repeated in 1999).

Most of his early singles were ballads, at which his powerful honky-tonk tenor excelled. Beginning in 1993, a different Joe Diffie emerged on disc. He released a string of wildly successful uptempo novelty tunes. These included such hits as “Honky Tonk Attitude” (1993), “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox” (1993), “John Deere Green” (1994), “Third Rock from the Sun” (1994), “Pickup Man” (1994), “I’m in Love with a Capital U” (1995), “Bigger Than the Beatles” (1996) and “C-O-U-N-T-R-Y” (1996).

Following a second divorce, he began a long relationship with Liz Allison, the widow of NASCAR star Davey Allison. Diffie had sung at Davey’s funeral after the race-car driver died in a 1993 helicopter accident. The new romance led to coverage in People magazine and several tabloids in the mid 1990s.

In 1996, Ford Trucks selected “Pickup Man” as its jingle, which Diffie re-recorded for a national ad campaign.

The following year, Diffie was presented with the Country Radio Broadcasters Humanitarian Award for his work with Tennessee Special Olympics, Teach for America, Operation Smile, Parade of Pennies, the Children’s Organ Transplant Association and other charities. He did an annual concert and golf tournament to benefit First Steps because he was the father of a child with Down Syndrome.

Also in 1997, he made his acting debut opposite Johnny Cash in the TV movie All My Friends Are Cowboys. He closed out the year as the Grand Marshall of the Nashville Christmas Parade.

He re-entered the Top 10 on the country charts with 1998’s “Texas Size Heartache.” Then he earned a Grammy Award for his participation in the 1998 Marty Stuart all-star outing “Same Old Train.”

The hits “A Night to Remember” (1999), “The Quittin’ Kind” (1999), “It’s Always Somethin’” (2000) and “In Another World” (2001) took Diffie into the new century. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2002.

Diffie signed with Broken Bow and hit the charts again with “Tougher Than Nails” in 2004. The following year, he returned to No. 1 as the co-writer of Jo Dee Messina’s smash “My Give a Damn’s Busted.”

Rounder Records picked him up in 2010 to distribute his CD Homecoming: The Bluegrass Album. The record’s supporting cast included The Grascals, Shawn Camp, Rhonda Vincent, Rob Ickes, Aubrey Haynie, Alecia Nugent, Bradley Walker, Harley Allen and Charlie Cushman. Later that year, Diffie published Homecoming: The Diffie Family Cookbook.

In recent years, Joe Diffie had returned to mainstream country recording. He teamed with Aaron Tippin and Sammy Kershaw on the 2013 CD All in the Same Boat.

Younger artists have begun to acknowledge his influence. Blake Shelton sings his “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).” Diffie is prominently name-checked in such hits as Jason Aldean’s “1994” (2012) and Chris Young’s “Raised on Country” (2019).

Joe Diffie is survived by his wife Tara and by children Parker, Kara, Drew, Tyler and Kylie. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.