Jon Pardi Tips His Hat to Joe Diffie in Throwback Tribute Performance at 2020 CMA Awards
Jon Pardi took the stage at the 2020 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 11) with a tribute performance dedicated to Joe Diffie. The '90s country star died in March after contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Pardi gave a faithful, homespun performance of "Pickup Man" that had some of the limited-seating audience literally dancing in the aisles, including Ashley McBryde, who was caught on camera smiling and grooving along to his fun, high-energy tribute.
A performer whose own music often takes inspiration from '90s-era country, Pardi mourned Diffie's death on Instagram back in March.
"Joe Diffie was such a nice guy and a great country singer. Been listening to Joe since the cassette days! Having some beers today for the pick up man," the singer wrote, in a nod to Diffie's 1994 hit.
Pardi's recently-released covers EP, Rancho Fiesta Session, includes a cover of Diffie's "Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)." In the recorded version, the younger singer can be heard crowing "Joe!" after the music fades out at the end of the track.
In addition to his performance, Pardi's also attending the 2020 CMAs as a nominee: He's up in the Album of the Year category for his 2019 studio project Heartache Medication, both as the recording artist and as a co-producer.
The singer's tribute to Diffie is one of three in memoriam tributes taking place during Wednesday night's broadcast. Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Ashley McBryde, the Brothers Osborne and more opened the show with an action-packed, multi-song tribute to Charlie Daniels. Little Big Town were also tapped to honor a third legend lost this year, Kenny Rogers.