Joe Diffie brings 90s nostalgia to Kern County Fair

Diffie performed a string of hits to an eager country crowd

If you’re a 90’s country fan, you’re most likely familiar with Joe Diffie. The country crooner brought his string of hits — and then some — to the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield, CA on Saturday (Sept 29th). Diffie’s hits date back to the late 80’s — the first six hitting No. 1 — and the large crowd knew them all!

From the opening “Third Rock From The Sun” to the closing “John Deere Green,” Diffie had the fans singing along to every song with stories and jokes told in between during his nearly 90 minute set. In one instance, Diffie shared of how he hated but grew to love one of his earliest hits, “If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).”

“My producer called me and he was like, ‘I found a smash hit for you,’ and I’m like ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘What’s it called?’ and he told me, and I was like ‘Dude, I hate that song!’ I said I had sung the demo. I already knew the song. He goes, ‘Well, you sang on the demo.’ I said, ‘That don’t mean I like it! They paid me.’ He goes, ‘Well okay. I’ll tell you what! You better learn to like it because you’re gonna do it the rest of your life.’ I was like, ‘Yes sir. Alright.’ So anyway, we went into the studio and jazzed it up a little bit, and after it went No. 1, I was like, ‘You know, he was right, it’s a pretty dadgum good song.'”

Diffie pulled a few surprises out of those empty pockets during the night. He and his band sang the chorus of “1994,” a song Jason Aldean released about the singer a few years ago. As his manager highly suggested, Diffie responded to the song with “Girl Ridin’ Shotgun,” a hick hop track with D-Thrash of Jawga Boyz. Diffie covered the singing parts on the studio recording, but rapped and sang it live, which earned him a large applause.

Another nice surprise was an ode to old country songs. Diffie covered Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors” before going into George Jones’ “You’re Still On My Mind” a shortened version of “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” The crowd cheered loudly as Diffie sang some of country’s most powerful and notable songs from his childhood.

The ’90’s nostalgia continued as Diffie poured hit after hit — “Pickup Man,” “Next Thing Smokin’,” “C-O-U-N-T-R-Y,” “A Night To Remember,” “Home,” Texas Sized Heartache,” “Is It Cold In Here (Or Is It Just You),” “Ships That Don’t Come In” — dedicated to the U.S. troops — and more. He performed his latest single, “I Got This,” which he described as “friendship, brotherhood, and I got your back, you got mine.”

“Good Brown Gravy,” an album track from Third Rock From The Sun, was also performed. The uptempo rockabilly tune was a pleasant surprise and had the crowd on their feet.

Diffie finished the night with two of his biggest hits from 1993 — “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox (If I Die)” and “John Deere Green,” with a spot on impersonation of Willie Nelson during the former’s intro. As “Green” finished, Diffie thanked the crowd and left the stage. His band soon followed. They all returned moments later to perform “Bigger Than The Beatles” as the lone encore song before saying goodbye a final time.

Diffie’s vocals were strong and polished. If you’re a fan of 90’s country music, you must see his show at least once in your lifetime. He didn’t put his guitar down once until he left the stage. He swooned and swayed all night giving fans what they came for which was nostalgia for some great country music.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: