Joe Diffie Returns With New Single ‘Girl Ridin’ Shotgun’
Nearly a decade after he last released a song to country radio, Joe Diffie has returned with a new single titled ‘Girl Ridin’ Shotgun.’ But to hear him tell the tale, the singer never really went away.
“It’s been pretty interesting. People think if you don’t have a single on the radio, that you’ve died,” Diffie tells Billboard. “We never stopped touring — or writing songs, for that matter. We put out a Greatest Hits CD a while back, and then we did [bluegrass album] ‘Homecoming’ in 2010. We’ve just been having a lot of fun.”
Diffie shot to fame in the ’90s with a string of hits including ‘Home,’ ‘Pickup Man,’ ‘If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)’ and ‘Third Rock From the Sun.’ After a dry spell at radio, his under-the-radar status ended abruptly last year when contemporary superstar Jason Aldean released ’1994,’ whose lyrics are essentially an homage to Diffie’s music.
“It took a while to get over the shock factor of it, because they didn’t just mention me — the whole thing was about my songs and me,” Diffie relates. “It was a pretty neat tribute.”
The success of that has reignited label interest in Diffie, resulting in a new contract with Bigger Picture. The first single from an album that he is currently working on under the auspices of that deal, ‘Girl Ridin’ Shotgun’ is a collaboration with the Jawga Boys that’s reminiscent of some of his novelty hits, mixing classic country instrumentation with a hip-hop rhythmic element.
Diffie admits his status as an icon and influence to a new generation takes some getting used to. “It always amazes me because at the time you’re just trying to do your thing, sing as well as you can, and find good songs,” he observes. “It’s a big honor when you hear stories about how your music has affected others.”
He adds, “That blows by mind that it would mean that much, but on the other hand, I think about how much I cared about George Jones, Johnny Cash, and Waylon [Jennings] – and how much a part of the fabric of my life they were, so I guess I can see it now.”