Jon Pardi Pays Homage To The Late Joe Diffie With Performance of ‘Pickup Man’ At 2020 CMA Awards

Jon Pardi; Photo Courtesy of CMA
Jon Pardi; Photo Courtesy of CMA
Jon Pardi; Photo Courtesy of CMA

Jon Pardi paid homage to the late Joe Diffie on Wednesday (Nov. 11) during the 54th annual CMA Awards.

“Gonna sing a bad song from an awesome artist that I grew up listening to. Dang! That’s easy,” Pardi told Taste of Country Nights ahead of his CMA performance. “That’s like honky-tonkin’ we talking about. That’s an exciting performance.”

Artists like Miranda Lambert and Ashley McBryde were brought to their feet to singing to his spirited tribute performance.

Pardi received 1 nomination for Album of the Year (Heartache Medication) at this year’s CMA Awards.

Diffie died earlier this year in March at age 61, after a short battle with the novel coronavirus. Diffie was a longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry and was best known for songs such as “John Deere Green,” “Pickup Man” and “Third Rock from the Sun.” His songs are often covered by rising country artists and his name is often dropped in songs by some of today’s top stars, including Chris Young in “Raised On Country” and Jason Aldean in “1994.” Throughout his career, Diffie released 13 albums and earned over 20 Top 10 hits at country radio. Diffie was a member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 25 years.

The 54th Annual CMA Awards also featured performances from Chris Stapleton, Rascal Flatts, Morgan Wallen, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Luke Combs, Darius Rucker, Eric Church, Keith Urban, Jimmie Allen, Ingrid Andress, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, Old Dominion and Kelsea Ballerini.

Additionally, the show included star-studded collaborations by Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber, Reba McEntire featuring Darius Rucker, Gabby Barrett and Charlie Puth, Carly Pearce with Charles Kelley as well as Thomas Rhett together with McEntire and Chris Tomlin. The show opener featured an all-star performance from Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne and Ashley McBryde paying tribute to the late Charlie Daniels.

Hosted by Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker, “Country Music’s Biggest Night” aired on Wednesday, November 11 (live 8:00-11:00 PM ET) on ABC.