(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
Jason Aldean has a song on his new album about an old era of country music — the ’90s. Or more specifically, “1994.” The song is kind of a country-rap one, but it’s the kind of rap I can really fall in love with because it’s all about Joe Diffie. As in, the lyrics reference at least eight of Diffie’s hits, like “Pickup Man,” “Honky Tonk Attitude,” “So Help Me Girl,” “Third Rock from the Sun,” “C-O-U-N-T-R-Y” and more.
So I asked Diffie what he thought about being so revered, musically. “It’s really an honor. It’s kind of flattering, yet uncomfortable at the same time,” he laughed. “Talk about unexpected, you know? Someone told me that Thomas Rhett had co-written a song that mentioned me. And I thought, ‘I wonder what he said about me in there?’ Because we’ve all heard songs in the past that mention Haggard or Jones, so I thought it might be something like that.”
But it’s not just a mention. It’s a whole song that pays homage to the man who dominated country radio in the ’90s.
“When I heard it, I was stunned,” Diffie admitted. “I was like. ‘You gotta be kidding me.’ It’s pretty flattering they went that far with it. It’s one thing to hear a song title or your name mentioned, but when it started into the ‘Joe. Joe. Joe Diffie’ part, that’s cool right there.”
As for the one lyric that says, “Teach us how to Diffie,” I asked him what Aldean might mean with that line.
“If anybody knows how to do that,” he said, “let me know.”