Joe Diffie’s 19-Year-Old Daughter, Kylie, Delivers Heartfelt Tribute To Her Late Father At The Grand Ole Opry

Kylie Diffie delivered the emotional tribute alongside John Berry.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

August 17, 2023

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John Berry, Kylie Diffie Honor Joe Diffie; Photo Courtesy Grand Ole Opry, Twitter

The late Grammy-winning country star, Joe Diffie, passed down his love for music to his daughter, Kylie Diffie, who recently honored her father’s legacy on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry

According to a post shared by the Opry’s official Twitter account, Kylie was welcomed on stage alongside Grammy winner, CMA and ACM nominated artist John Berry on Wednesday, August 16. Together, they delivered a soulful cover of her father’s hit ‘90s song, “Ships That Don’t Come In.”

“We All Miss You, Joe”

“. @JohnBerryMusic shared a special moment with daughter of Opry star  @JoeDiffieOnline , Kylie Diffie, singing “Ships That Don’t Come In” for the Wednesday Night Opry. We all miss you, Joe! ♥️”

“Ships That Don’t Come In”

Co-written by Dave Gibson and Paul Nelson, this emotional single landed a spot in the Top 5 after appearing on Diffie’s 1992 Epic Records album, Regular Joe. The moving lyrics illustrate a heart-to-heart conversation between two men who find themselves to be in a low place. However, despite the disappointment in the current state of their lives, they still manage to find gratitude for all the opportunities they were given.

“So here’s to all the soldiers / Who have ever died in vain / The insane locked up in themselves / The homeless down on Main / To those who stand on empty shores / And spit against the wind / And those who wait forever / For ships that don’t come in,” he sings on the chorus. 


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Kylie Diffie also shared a few highlights from the night, including backstage rehearsal, getting ready surrounded by friends and family, and of course, the unforgettable on-stage moment. 

Her caption read, “It was absolutely such an HONOR to sing such a special song to both mr john and myself on the opry stage last night. getting to celebrate my dad and his music at his second home is an experience i will CHERISH forever!”

The young female artist went on to recall joyful memories from her childhood that took place in the same historic venue where her dad spent so much time throughout his career. 

“as a child, running around backstage and going on stage to sing with dad was just a regular tuesday. i’m so glad i got to relive those moments again,” she wrote in conclusion. 

John Berry also took to social media to reflect on the evening.

“Last night at The Grand Ole Opry was really special to me. After singing ‘Standing On The Edge’ and ‘Your Love Amazes Me’ I told the story of hearing Joe Diffie sing ‘Ships That Don’t Come In’ on the radio back in early 1992 and how that song literally changed the course of my life. Then I had Joes lovely 19 year old daughter, Kylie Diffie come out and sing her dads song with me. She has a sweet voice and helped to make it an Opry moment for me,” he wrote alongside several photos of the memorable moments.

Musical Legacy

Joe Diffie was a longstanding member of the Grand Ole Opry who unfortunately passed away on Sunday, March 29, 2020, due to complications of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Throughout his career, he released 13 albums and earned over 20 Top 10 hits at country radio. His catalog of songs is most commonly known for tracks such as “John Deere Green,” “Pickup Man,” “Third Rock from the Sun,” as well as many more inspiring tunes that rising country stars continue to cover to this day. Listeners often hear his name dropped in songs by some of today’s hitmakers including Chris Young in “Raised On Country” and Jason Aldean in “1994.”

Diffie was a member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 25 years. He is survived by his five children and wife, Tara.

Joe Diffie; Photo by Crystal K. Martel
Joe Diffie; Photo by Crystal K. Martel

On March 29, Kylie took to social media to pen a heartfelt letter to her late father in honor of the three-year anniversary of his death. The post was paired with a slideshow of images that showcased their close-knit bond that strengthened throughout her childhood.

“three years. three entire years since the world lost such a bright light. three years may be short in the long run but it has felt like an eternity with him not here. to say i miss him is an understatement,” Kylie began. “i always seem to try to find him in anything. especially yellow. yellow might be just a color to some, but it has such a deeper meaning to me. it was his favorite color. the day he passed, a yellow tulip grew in my uncle’s yard. weirdly, yellow tulips have never shown up around that area. i always take that as a sign of him letting me know he’s ok. yellow. yellow flowers. yellow clothing. yellow sky. anything yellow i resemble to him.”

She continued, “i am so lucky to have had you as a father, mentor, and shoulder to lean on. i love you endlessly and can’t wait to meet you again at the gates of heaven.”

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.