Like pretty much everybody in society today, I have a million things going on here in the office and around the house. I’m waiting to get called back into work when it becomes safe to do so, and I am taking care of many personal issues as well.
A PLETHORA of hot new albums have embellished the market, upon which Mr. Joshua has been writing a ton of reviews for them and I have been keeping track of all the live streams going on. Just about every band we cover in every genre has been playing from their homes to combat the time lost from not being able to travel.
The pandemic has greatly affected all of us in so many ways, and has greatly affected the health of a few Country Music Legends like Mr. Joe Diffie and Mr. John Prine. I pretty much lumped up many of them into one big piece here, and shared some press releases I got in my inbox.
When I was a young boy of about six, I began embarking on a huge lifelong journey of all of my music influences and ardent admiration of the Legends whom wrote the songs, and played on the albums as well as the artists and band.
Songwriters have always been a huge part of my infatuation with music, and Mr. Kenny Rogers had one of his biggest hits with a song Mr. Don Schlitz wrote called ‘The Gambler”. To be honest , the album itself was not the best to me…some of the songs were kind of a disco sound ( which was popular at that time…hell even KISS was doing it).
To say that Mr. John Prine wasn’t one of my TOP 3 most influential and beloved songwriters would be a lie. He was indeed one of the few whom inspired me to pick up a pen, and write songs myself. He made me really LISTEN to the lyrics and dwell on the words, his witty tales of life in the south and other places were subtly in my mind as a young child. I owe a LOT of who I am to him and the likes of Mr. Jerry Jeff Walker and Mr. Dean Dillon.
In 1980, one of my favorite albums of all time came around from Mr. Kenny Rogers. It was a concept album about a Texas cowboy who was reflecting back upon his life, and since Mr. Willie Nelson had such great success with his concept album called “Red Headed Stranger”, he persuaded his own label United Artists Group to do the same.
I also began listening to the Opry on the radio on weekends, and watching it on TNN and other various outlets I could. I watched HEE HAW and other shows any chance I got. The Grand ladies of the Opry were a small group of ladies that were regulars on the Opry every weekend.
Once again, being married to iconic songwriter Mr. Harlan Howard ( whom also greatly influenced me) Miss Jan Howard brought forth some of Country Music’s greatest albums and songs on her own, and also with Mr. Bill Anderson as a duo.
Miss Jan Howard had a long and nefarious life of marriages to physically abusive men, most of which was revealed in her 1987 autobiography called “Sunshine And Shadows”. Below are some press releases which talk about the impact she had on some of her industry friends upon her death.
“So sorry to lose my friend and Opry sister Jan Howard. She was one of the first friends I met on my first trip to Nashville in 1963. We shared many great times and got through some rough ones. And right up to the end she flashed that million dollar smile. I’m sad she’s gone but I’m glad she didn’t linger and suffer. The first memory that came to my mind today was one time she called and when I asked her what she’d been doing, she said well I just got through riding an elephant! Jan always said ‘Life is not a rhearsal, this is it, make the most of it.’ She made me promise her that I would put her cell phone in her casket just in case! Her sense of humor was like no other. She’s already missed.”
Jan was sweet as honey and tough as nails. When I was at Vanderbilt in 1976, she invited me to stay with her during final exams so I could be close to campus. She helped me study and she woke me up every morning and made breakfast for me. She was always incredibly generous and kind to me. I hadn’t seen her in decades, but I got a message last December that she wanted to see me. I went to visit her and she told me stories about the past, about my dad, and about her life. I’m so grateful we had that last conversation and I’m so grateful I could call her a friend.
“Knowing Jan Howard’s music was a blessing but knowing her was a a double dose of blessing. When she walked into a room or on a stage, she always brought a warm smile and cherry note. I will miss her talent and her funny stories. One of the real grand ladies of the Grand Ole Opry.”
“Jan was the most honest and strongest person that I’ve ever met. She lived life to the fullest. I was blessed to call her a very good friend for the past 23 years. She lived and loved Country Music.”
“The Exile family is saddened at the passing of a great lady, a legend, and our friend, Jan Howard. Go rest high dear friend.”
–Exile (Sonny LeMaire, JP Pennington, Marlon Hargis, Les Taylor and Steve Goetzman)
“We are sad to say so long to Jan Howard. She was a friend of our family for many years and she will be missed. A sweet, strong woman that I am so very glad to have known. Thank you for the memories Jan!”
–Julie Fudge and the Patsy Cline family
“Jan Howard was not only loved for the great artist and years of music she shared with the world, but the fact that she was “REAL”. It broke our hearts to hear the story of her son that died in Vietnam after watching the Ken Burns Country Music Documentary, but makes us happy to know that they’re rejoicing together in Heaven today. You will be greatly missed, Jan.”
–Darin and Brooke Aldridge
“Very sad news today. Singer-songwriter Jan Howard, one of the “Grand Ladies of the Grand Ole Opry,” has passed away. She had everything to be admired in a woman… strength, beauty, smarts, talent and heart. She will be missed.”
“Jan Howard was a bestselling singer, Grand Ole Opry star, songwriter, author, but also a successful human being and a beloved friend to many.”
“Jan Howard was always a great friend to us Rio guys. Everytime we saw her at the Opry we were always met with smile and a BIG hug. We held a charity Golf Tournament for 10 yrs and Jan was always one of the first celebrities to participate. We will truly miss her friendship and sweet soul.”
“With the passing of our wonderful friend Jan Howard, we have lost one of the very few remaining links connecting the roots of early California country music to the Nashville songwriting gold rush era of the early 1960s. I never had a conversation with Jan that I did not learn things that were important to me. I loved her and I will always treasure her friendship.”
“Jan’s wonderful contributions to country music not only included her music, but also her best-selling autobiography “Sunshine and Shadow.” There’s no more shadow in Jan’s life now. She’s walking in total sunshine, and I’m sure she’s hugging her two sons and her country music friends. It’s hard losing a special friend, but if you miss them it means you were lucky you had that special person in your life. And Jan was certainly a special person. She left this world peacefully, without suffering or pain, and without contracting this terrible virus, so that is comforting. And I know she was ready to go home. A sunset on Earth is a sunrise in Heaven.”
“I have had a lot of wonderful memories over the years with Jan Howard. She was real, honest
and compassionate. She also had a great sense of humor. I am blessed to have known such
a Grand Lady.”–Carrie Moore-Reed – Third Coast Talent
“Jan Howard left us with a legacy of music. Songs that she sang, songs that she wrote, and a voice that we’ll never forget. Rest in peace ‘Lula Grace.’ I will miss you and love you always.”
–Shannon McCombs – Radio & Television Host
The 80s and early 90s were decades of the last I remember of QUALITY radio friendly Country Music the likes of this man Mr. Joe Diffie. Oh, how these years glorified Country Music with soulful songs of Mr. Vince Gill and Mr. Ricky Van Shelton.
The Opry was on the last leg of its TRUE PRIME with members like Miss Terri Clark and Mr. Travis Tritt becoming members, and still holding active duties now.
“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.”
I am in shock and so sad over the passing of my long time friend, Joe Diffie. Joe and I go way back to when we both started out in this business. He IS without a doubt one of the finest country singers that has ever sung into a microphone. His pronunciation and country vibes were amazing, but he backed that up with a voice that could belt out a song like a tenor doing a duet with Pavarotti, that’s what made him truly one of the best singers I’ve ever heard.
Joe was so fun and a blast to hang with at all times and he made me laugh. I will miss my friend and salute him by cranking “Ships That Don’t Come In” till I go to sleep tonight. Rest in Heaven brother and sing one when you’re ready, they’re gonna love you!
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.
There are voices that come along and catch our attention…and then there are VOICES that come along and capture our hearts forever more. We lost one of the greatest Country voices of ALL time today!!
Joe Diffie was special in every way! His vocal range was absolutely massive…. like those lungs were unreal. His tone was as rich as the OK dirt he was raised in. His heart was as warm as the comfy front lounge of his bus where he’d proudly serve up his homemade craft brews and shared stories of life, love, and the road. Joe was real, and that resonated with all of us from his peers, to family, to friends, to his millions of fans alike.
Joe made me want to be a better singer without a doubt. I’d sit on the side of the stage and wait for Ships That Don’t Come In or White Lightenin’. Anything that came out of his mouth was stylistic AND mechanically perfect. You usually don’t get to have both qualities, but Joe did.
I’m humbled and honored to have called him my buddy and my heart breaks for his wife Tara, his beautiful kids, and big extended family as well. “One take Joe” came on in here and made us all feel special for awhile…now, he’s leading the choir of heavenly honky tonk angels! He made one hell of a mark….
“I had the great honor of writing and producing a track for Joe Diffie, a song Milton Brown and I wrote for a movie entitled Mi Amigo. Joe had the purest and beautiful voice. So thankful I had the chance to work with him.”
“Shocked and heartbroken to hear of old friend Joe Diffie’s death from COVID-19. Prayers for his family.”
–Exile (Sonny LeMaire, JP Pennington, Marlon Hargis, Les Taylor and Steve Goetzman)
“Joe was a good one. We played a lot of the same radio shows together and charity golf tournaments back in the day. I just saw him on the Country Music Cruise last year and enjoyed our time together. Hard to put loss like this into words. Godspeed Joe!”
“Joe Diffie was one of my first concerts in high school. I drove 45 min to see him play in Parsons, Kansas. “It’s Always Something” and “So Help Me Girl” were my favorite songs at the time. In “It’s Always Something”, he says “lunchtime, a new place, waitress says her name. Why does it have to be? Emily!” I had a huge crush on a girl named Emily at the time so the song was very fitting and I would cruise what we called the oval in my small town, blasting Joe Diffie. Thank you for your music Joe, Country Music won’t be the same.”
–Kyndon Oakes, Lockelend
“Prop Me Up Beside The JukeBox” & “Pick Up Man”, we’re two of the biggest songs I remember from my childhood. I hear those tunes and it takes me right back to my hometown. Thanks for the music Joe.”
–Mark Vikingstad, Lockeland
“Thank you Joe for the beautiful legacy of stories, laughs, tears and memories. Your music was real, and so are all the lives you have touched over the years. Deepest thoughts, prayers and condolences to Joe’s family, friends and bandmates.”
–Michael Boris, Lockeland
“Our hearts are heavy today as we say goodbye to a musical legend and friend, Joe Diffie. We had the privilege of getting to know Joe over the last couple years and got to jam on some tunes with him on the 2019 Country Music Cruise. He always had a smile and a song ready to belt out and man could he bring it! Thank you for touching the hearts and lives of everyone around the world with your love and music, Joe. Country Music certainly lost a treasure.”
–Darin and Brooke Aldridge
“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.”
“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
A couple years ago some friends and I went on a writing retreat and one night at dinner we were talking about songs we wish we had written. Without hesitation, I yelled out “John Deere Green”. Yes, it’s one of my favorites for the songwriting but also for the voice that sang it. It would’ve been a dream come true to have that voice on one of my songs. Joe Diffie was born to sing country music and, in my opinion, will continue to be one of the greatest country vocalists of all time. The world lost an amazing person and artist today.. This song was so hard for me to get through, but I wanted to sing it in memory of him. Thank you for the songs and for sharing your voice with us, Joe Diffie, fly high