CMA Awards 2020: Jon Pardi’s Joe Diffie Tribute Earns Standing Ovation from Late Singer’s Wife

by Max Long

Jon Pardi delivered an exhilarating performance of a true country classic, “Pickup Man,” by Joe Diffie. The performance was expected to be one of the highlights of the night. Not just for fans, but also for Pardi.

Diffie, a country music legend, passed away in March at age 61 due to COVID-19 complications.

Pardi is a Joe Diffie Fan

Jon Pardi, a native of California, grew up listening to Diffie, according to a post on his Instagram. Pardi said in the post on the day of Diffie’s death that he’s been listening “since the cassette tape days.” Furthermore, he added that he was “having some beers today for the pickup man.” Little did Pardi know, he’d soon take on the role of the “pickup man.”

Pardi’s been looking forward to performing the song for some time now. In an interview with Taste of Country Nights, Pardi said, “That’s like honky-tonkin’ we talking about. That’s an exciting performance.”

The performance got the audience going, as many other country stars could be seen singing along and tapping their feet. The performance even drew a standing ovation from the late Diffie’s wife, Tara Terpening.

Pardi is hopeful he can keep his good night going. He is nominated for the Album of the Year CMA Award for the album “Heartache Medication.” The album features several hits such as “Ain’t Always The Cowboy” and “Heartache Medication.”

Diffie passed away on March 29 at age 61. He released several hits during his career such as “John Deere Green,” “Pickup Man,” and “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die).” Diffie won a CMA Award of his own for Vocal Event of the Year in 1993.