Joe Diffie headlining Peanut Fest talent

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 24, 2005

Staff report

No stranger to the top of the charts, Joe Diffie and his band, Heartbreak Highway, will take the main stage at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct.

9, for the 28th annual Peanut Fest held at Suffolk Executive Airport.

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Joe Logan Diffie was born and raised in Tulsa, Okla, where he was immersed in music from a young age.

His first public performance came in his aunt’s country band when he was only four.

It was songwriting, interestingly enough, that lured Diffie to Nashville after his song &uot;Love on the Rocks&uot; was recorded by Hank Thompson.

Diffie found work in the Nashville area working at the Gibson guitar plant and soon established himself as one of Music Row’s top demo singers.

&uot;When I first came to Nashville I sang a lot of demo recordings-song that would be pitched to other artists,&uot; he said.

&uot;I had worked in a foundry in Oklahoma, and singing for a living seemed like a piece of heaven.

I took it very seriously, making sure I told each song’s story the way I thought the songwriter intended.&uot;

That innate sense of phrase and meaning, that relentless attention to detail, served Diffie well as he made the transition from demo singer to major label recording artist.

Early hits including &uot;Home,&uot; &uot;If You Want Me To,&uot; If The Devil Dance in Empty Pockets,&uot; and &uot;New Way to Light up an Old Flame&uot; established Diffie as, arguably, country music’s foremost balladeer.

As his career progressed, Diffie began flashing a more playful side on up-tempo smashes like &uot;John Deere Green,&uot; &uot;Third Rock From the Sun,&uot; &uot;Bigger Than the Beatles&uot; and &uot;Prop Me up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die).&uot;

Over the course of the 1990s, Diffie used his steady radio success to build a solid fan base while notching his belt with 17 top 10 hits, two platinum albums and two gold albums.

The singer is particularly proud of his latest album, &uot;Tougher than Nails.&uot;

&uot;This album shows more of me – the way I was raised, where I am in life, how I approach things-than anything else I’ve recorded,&uot; Diffie said.

&uot;Probably because I wrote so much of it.

I’ve always gravitated toward substance over sizzle, and this album really displays the inner workings of my creativity.

It’s got substance.&uot;

The concert is free, but there is a $7 parking charge at the Peanut Festival.

Diffie’s appearance is sponsored by Budweiser, Starr Motors Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, CraftWork Sound & Eagle 97.3. For more information, contact the Peanut Fest office at 757-539-6751 or visit