Did Joe Diffie Once Roam Our Neck of the Woods in Minnesota?
Joe Diffie passed away due complications from the coronavirus (COVID-19) over the weekend, but did you know he had ties to our neck of the woods?
We got word late Sunday afternoon that 90's country star, Joe Diffie, had succumbed to complications from the coronavirus (COVID-19). And while he was born in Oklahoma (in Tulsa, where he attended Velma-Alma High School, according to this post in The Oklahoman), but he also roamed the highways and byways of western Wisconsin, and perhaps even here in southeast Minnesota.
That's right, according to this post on the Paul Watters Band site that lists country singers from Wisconsin, it notes that Joe Diffie once called Whitehall, Wisconsin, home. (In case you're curious, Whitehall is a small town in Trempealeau about 30 miles south of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It's a little over an hour and a half northeast of Rochester via Winona.)
Now, granted, it was while he was a kid, from 5th grade through 11th grade, so it was well before he was famous, but still, it's totally reasonable to think he probably stumbled into the Land of 10,000 Lakes at some point in time, right?
Back in the 90's, right out of college, when I was working the overnight shift on Eau Claire country station, WAXX, Joe Diffie was on the country charts with a TON of hits. I remember playing his hits like "John Deere Green,” “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox,” “Third Rock From The Sun,” “If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” “New Way (To Light Up An Old Flame),” “Pickup Man,” “Bigger Than The Beatles,” "Home," and my personal favorite, “Ships That Don’t Come In.”
I remember hearing several times from Whitehall listeners who grew up going to school with him and were very interested in the success he was having. I never got the chance to meet him while I worked in Eau Claire, but several co-workers did and they all said how down to earth, and what a cool guy he was. It makes me that much sadder to hear the news of his passing.