Album Review: Joe Diffie & HIXTAPE: HIXTAPE, Vol 3: DIFFTAPE

HARDY’s third “HIXTAPE” takes shape as DIFFTAPE; A Tribute To Joe Diffie featuring the late country icon himself along with a bunch of his friends.

The history of modern country music is littered with tribute albums to all sorts of topics. For his third HIXTAPE, country star and hit songwriter HARDY has turned the tribute album on its head by bringing in a who’s who of country music artists to tribute one of country music’s iconic stars of the 1990s and 2000s in Joe Diffie. DIFFTAPE is actually novel in that it mixes in Diffie’s own vocals into these seventeen selections of his greatest hits. It’s a Tribute album with the dearly departed Diffie (and now Toby Keith) partaking in the whole affair. The Diffie family gave the ideal their blessing and here we are.

Previewed on the CMA Awards with “Pickup Man” and John Deere Green from HARDY, Morgan Wallen and Post Malone, the album’s selection of songs show just how strong Diffie’s songs were. Take “Third Rock From The Sun.” Often seen as a silly ditty, this fun little mid-1990s number from the album of the same name gets a brand new life with with Blake Shelton, Brooks & Dunn and HARDY joining Diffie on the song). “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox (If I Die)” features the “Difftones” in the big chorus while Tracy Lawrence and Lainey Wilson join Joe Diffie on the track. “Ships That Don’t Come In” features the late Toby Keith and Luke Combs while Old Dominion and Jon Pardi join in on the fun on “Bigger Than The Beatles.”

Diffie’s stone cold country weeper “Is It Cold In Here” features Jake Worthington and Reba McEntire along with Joe Diffie while “Home,” Diffie’s first big hit, features Darius Rucker and Hailey Whitters while “Texas Size Heartache” features Clint Black & Larry Fleet. If there’s something that’s very interesting about THIS tribute is that it most-often features an artist who was a STAR during the same ERA Diffie was charting and touring with them and later, Diffie often toured with folks like Clint Black, Aaron Tippin and Sammy Kershaw, all artists featured here as are Tracy Lawrence, Mark Wills, Jack Ingram, Chris Young, Luke Bryan, Randy Houser and newcomers like Ernest, Nate Smith, Jake Worthington,, Lauren Watkins, Koe Wetzel, and Randall King.

All in All, HIXTAPE, Vol 3: DIFFTAPE doesn’t bring anything new to these songs other than the need for an awesome Televised special tribute show to the one and only Joe Diffie and as such, it’s awesome that Parker Diffie joins their father Joe on the closing “Life Had Other Plans For Me” along with HARDY. This is a fun collection of new tunes mixed up with great artists new and old and a great reminder of why Joe Diffie is such an icon and more influential than perhaps many folks in the 1990s thought he would be and that’s a damn fine thing.