Jan Howard and Jeannie Seely

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.”
–Jeannie Seely

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.
–Rosanne Cash

“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.”
–Charlie Monk

“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.”
–Bobby Tomberlin

“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.”
–Dallas Wayne

“Jan Howard was a bestselling singer, Grand Ole Opry star, songwriter, author, but also a successful human being and a beloved friend to many.”
–Bobby Braddock

“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.”
–Diamond Rio

“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.”
–Buddy Cannon

“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.”
–Ron Harman

“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.

Joe Diffie and John Berry

“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

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!
–Tim Rushlow

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

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….
–Heidi Newfield

“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.”
–Steve Dorff

“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!”
–David Ball

“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.”
–Linda Davis

“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
–Dallas Remington


Fellow Artists and Friends Remember and Mourn The Loss of Grand Ole Opry Great Jan Howard and Country Music’s “Pickup Man,” Joe Diffie
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nineties country-music hitmaker Joe Diffie died Sunday, March 29th due to complications related to COVID-19. The feel-good tunes that Diffie created continue to bless fans around the world. In all, Diffie charted 18 Top 10 singles, with the majority reaching the top five, including 1993 radio essentials “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)” and iconic song, “John Deere Green.” Diffie’s popular hits also include “Home,” “Third Rock From the Sun,” “Pickup Man,” “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” and “Bigger Than the Beatles.”

Fellow artists mourn the sudden loss of their friend and recall fond memories that they’ve shared and will forever cherish with legend, Joe Diffie.

“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 Covid19 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

Remembering Jan Howard

Chart-topping country leading lady and 49 year member of the Grand Ole Opry, Jan Howard, died peacefully on Saturday, March 28th at age 91 in Gallatin, Tennessee. In 1960 Howard relocated from Los Angeles to Nashville, where she began appearing on the Opry. Howard would sing demos of songs including “I Fall to Pieces,” a monumental success for Patsy Cline. Howard would also team with Opry star Bill Anderson on a number of duets, including her sole number one, “For Loving You.” After a recording career with Capitol Records, she was signed to Decca’s label, landing a top five single with “Evil on Your Mind.”

Friends and fellow artists mourn the tragic loss and recall precious memories with the timeless, Jan Howard.

“I am so saddened that Jan Howard has left us. Jan is one of the legendary artists who paved the way in country music for all of us ladies who followed. She has always been so nice to me and I always loved listening to her stories. We will miss you, Jan.” – Crystal Gayle

“Jan Howard was a great golf partner and friend. She was rare and feisty! The last time I talked to her was at church when she came to hear me sing. We will all miss her very much! Prayers for her family and friends.” – T. Graham Brown

“I had a chance to work with Jan Howard over the past few years donating our time and music for the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch fundraiser in Victoria, Texas. We all became close friends and I enjoyed her so much. This is such sad news about such a great lady.” – Janie Fricke

“So sad to lose two very special legends as well as the Opry family. Jan Howard was always such a feisty woman who took her talents to levels that even she never could have imagined. A great lady who will be missed by all.” – Joe Bonsall of The Oak Ridge Boys

“Jan Howard was more than an Opry icon and a great entertainer.  Jannie Mae was my friend for over four decades. If she loved you, she would give you the shirt off her back.  She was a talented artist, an American patriot, a straight-shooter, a class act and when I started out on my solo career she was one of my biggest cheerleaders.  I loved Jan Howard. I always will.” – Tim Atwood

“So sad to hear of the passing of Jan Howard. One of the Grand Ole Opry’s most talented and beautiful ladies! So proud to call her my friend! True grit and grace combined with her amazing vocal talent & stellar songwriting insured her iconic place in country music,a Grand Lady of the Grand Ole Opry.” – Deborah Allen

“This lady was a straight shooter. I am so lucky to have played in many celebrity golf tournaments with her, where it gave us the opportunity to have dinner and long evenings where we could visit. I loved when the Women of the Grand Ole Opry all shared one make up room. For a visiting performer to the Grand Ole Opry, this was one of the most amazing things to get to visit and share a dressing room with the Opry Stars. She was a real sizzler, who wasn’t afraid to zing you; but also surrounded you with her love and joy. So many great memories. Thank you Jan for your friendship. May you rest in sweet peace.” – Rhonda Vincent

“Jan Howard was such a great talent and I always enjoyed hearing her perform. Most definitely one of the greats of country music. Her Grand Ole Opry performances were always great as well. Another legend gone, but never forgotten.” – Shane Owens

“As an artist and as an avid fan of the Grand Ole Opry, I was saddened to hear the recent passing of Country Music Legend, Jan Howard. I learned of Jan’s music growing up in Kentucky and visiting with my grandparents through the years. What a legacy.  She will be missed.” – JD Shelburne


Fellow Singer/Songwriters and Friends Remember and Mourn The Loss of Lyrical Legend John Prine
John Prine (by Jeremy Westby)
Photo: Jeremy Westby
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Grammy Award winning, Songwriters Hall of Fame Member John Prine passed away at age 73 due to Covid-19. Some of his most legendary hits include, “Hello in There,” “Sam Stone,” “Angel From Montgomery” and “Paradise.” Prine used these masterpieces to highlight moments that the average mind grazed over with empathetic words and light-hearted lines. Writing for big industry names such as Johnny Cash, George Strait, Don Williams, the Everly Brothers, Carl Perkins and Bette Midler, all while being a singer, author, actor and record label owner, leaves Prine with one of the most renowned legacies in music history. Prine was not only a poetic prodigy, but a friend to many in the music and entertainment industry.

Fellow artists mourn the loss of their friend and share fond memories that have left them forever inspired by the timeless, John Prine.

“I have enjoyed John’s music for many years. He was a truly gifted man and he will be missed. My prayers go out to his family.” – Charley Pride

“All of The Oak Ridge Boys are saddened by the loss of John Prine. The man was a genius songwriter! I have been listening to his music and praying for him since he got sick and to be honest I didn’t really know John personally but my heart is heavy nonetheless.” – Joe Bonsall / Oak Ridge Boys

“Nashville has lost another legendary artist. John Prine will always be remembered for his great music. I will always remember John’s wonderful smile and how nice and caring he was. Sending lots of love to his family.” – Crystal Gayle

“So sad to see another great music legend leave us. My family sends prayers to John Prine’s family.” – Lee Greenwood

“John was a sweet genius who always had time for conversation with me and as a songwriter, he was untouchable.” – T. Graham Brown

“After having the honor of seeing John Prine on a few occasions, it was no secret how much he is loved and admired. I last saw him at the Marty Stuart Late Night Jam, and was fortunate to have a front row seat. I captured many great photos, and will cherish the photos as a wonderful memory of witnessing one of the greatest songwriters to walk God’s Earth.” – Rhonda Vincent

“I really feel like we’ve lost one of our generation’s great champions for living outside the senses.” – Lacy J. Dalton

John Prine was a treasure! He inspired every singer/songwriter who has ever lived. He has survived several health challenges and I was praying that he would survive this. There was only one John Prine. Everyone looked up to him and he will be missed by not only Nashville, but around the world. We love you, John.” – Deborah Allen

“I used to sing his song “Paradise” about Muhlenburg county during my shows in clubs. It was written about how the coal mines stripped away the vegetation and trees. He also wrote “Angel From Montgomery,” which was a hit by Bonnie Raitt. This is the kind of music that I have always loved. It was a touch of blues and a touch of pop. I have always loved his music and style. He was a leader in the “awareness” songs and was a huge influence in my life and my approach to music. You will be missed, John.” – Janie Fricke

“I first met John Prine in the 70’s backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.  He was perhaps one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the honor to meet.  No star attitude whatsoever. He was just an average guy who loved words.  And he became one of the greatest wordsmiths of our time. His lyrics are pure poetry.  He never worried about making his songs commercial. He wrote from the heart and the gut.  Ironically I was in the studio last month and recorded one of his songs that I’ve loved for years called  “Blue Umbrella.” John would say in three minutes what an author would say in 256 pages. What a talent!” – Tim Atwood

“So sad to hear the passing of the legendary John Prine. One of the most influential songwriters of our time gone way too soon! His music will live on forever.” – J.D. Shelburne

John Prine was one of the most beloved and well-versed songwriters in the business, and his passing is a huge loss to songwriters and fans alike. The mark he made on the americana/folk/country music industry was remarkable – one that no one else could ever dream of accomplishing. His songwriting will be deeply missed, but even more than that is his infectious smile and sweet spirit. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of John’s family and friends, as well as all the fans he has made over the years. There will truly never be another John Prine.” – Paige King Johnson

Message From Oh Boy Records 

We miss John so much and we know you all do too. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support during the last few weeks. It’s been both a source of solace and strength for us. We wish we had the right words to share today, but honestly, it’s going to take a while for us to come to terms with what has happened. Like most times, it’s usually John’s lyrics that help guide the way for us. So let’s all keep playing and singing his songs “And when we get through we’ll make a big wish that we never have to do this again. Again? Again??
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