Joe Diffie may have titled this album with the aw shucks name, Regular Joe, but when he digs into “I Just Don’t Know,” the second song in, it’s clear that with this – only his second studio album – Diffie is someone truly special. Nah, he’s irregular, in the most amazing ways. Diffie hand a hand in writing many of these songs, which includes the fast-paced “Next Thing Smokin” that features twangy electric guitar and Rob Hajacos’ fiddle interplay. Paul Franklin plays steel guitar on the album, and Vince Gill helps with backing vocals. Many of these songs were radio hits, and deservedly so, including “Is It Cold in Here,” “Ships That Don’t Come In” and “Next Thing Smokin'.”
Again and again, it’s Diffie’s singing voice that grabs your attention with this release. The way he switches from singing, to spoken word on “Ships That Don’t Come In,” offers proof of how he was a master singer – even this early on. When given ballads he can truly sink his teeth into, he proves his obvious singing strengths. He’s blessed with many fine songs – bout slow and fast ones.
It’s fun to look back to when our favorite artists were first getting their feet wet. Regular Joe shows us a singer who was fully ready for prime time, right out of the box.