Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to sit down with with one of my personal all-time favorite country music artists, Joe Diffie! We briefly discussed his upcoming new music, hick-hop, “Girl Ridin’ Shotgun,” 25 years of “Ships That Don’t Come In” and more!
Though he released a bluegrass album in 2010 titled Homecoming and then teamed up with buddies Aaron Tippin and Sammy Kershaw in 2013 for All In The Same Boat, it has been 13 LONG years since we have seen the release of a full fledged Joe Diffie country album. Luckily for all of us, our fix will finally be coming later in 2017.
On the extended time between albums: “I don’t know why, just circumstances. But I’ve finally been in the studio recording and hopefully it’ll come out sometime in the fall. In that time period I’ve been able to gather up some songs that I really love and really spoke to me, so hopefully everyone will feel the same.”
“I’ve asked several of my buddies to come sing on this particular song, a fun song, and they all said they would. It just a logistics thing about getting them all into the studio, but it’ll happen soon.” Joe couldn’t give me any names of the artists who he hopes to have contribute, but Brad Paisley has recently confirmed that he has been in the studio recording with the 90’s superstar. “We actually may have a few different songs with collaborations lined up, but some are still up in the air.” As far as an album title, Joe offers up “Joe Diffie Sings Some Country Songs.” Sounds fine to me!
Though I am not personally a fan of the hick-hop movement over the last few years, I have to admit that I found myself hooked on Joe’s single from 2013, “Girl Ridin’ Shotgun,” which he recorded with D-Thrash of the Jawga Boyz. While many of his contemporaries have been fairly outspoken in the direction of country music, Joe said of his experiment in the sub-genre: “You know what was funny about that? I’d been writing songs with a bunch of newer artists like Tyler Farr, Brett Eldredge and several others and my manger called me and said that there was this group out of Georgia that do really well on YouTube and asked if I wanted to write with the guy, he does hick-hop. I said, ‘Wow, I don’t know anything about that, but sure, I’ll write with him.’ Of all the songs that I wrote, 15 or 20 of them, that’s the one that this record label got all excited about! I don’t know what the tally is, but the video has over 11 million views or so on YouTube. We had a lot of fun with it. Why not? It was just one song. Some people got all upset about it, but hell, it’s just a song.”
Believe it or not, we are just over 25 years removed from the debut of “Ships That Don’t Come In” on country radio. Joe tells me that this is one of the most important songs of his career and that it is still his favorite song to perform live. “The reason that I love it so much from folks that have served in the military. They love that song and I get so many great stories from them. I had a young marine, four tours in Afghanistan, four tours in Iraq, and he said ‘You guys don’t know what your music does for us. We’re away from home and our loved ones, we’re in the middle of nowhere but we can turn on your music and it feels like we have a little piece of home.’ And that is such an honor.”
I couldn’t let Joe go without telling him that his album Third Rock From The Sun has been on my CD shelf since fifth grade, and how despite a lot of my friends not listening to country music while growing up, that they ALL knew Joe Diffie and his hit songs. “It’s funny that you mention that, because we do a bunch of shows every year but a lot of kids and young adults, I don’t know what the attraction is but they all love ‘John Deere Green.’ It just blows my mind that little bitty kids know that song.”
Joe Diffie’s forthcoming album is tentatively set for release this fall. Until then, catch the first track from the new album, “Summertime All Year,” on Silverado Records’ Summer On Repeat sampler on iTunes NOW!