Jon Pardi Tributes Joe Diffie at 2020 CMA Awards

This was such a special tribute!

Written by Cillea Houghton
Jon Pardi Tributes Joe Diffie at 2020 CMA Awards
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 11: Jon Pardi performs onstage during the The 54th Annual CMA Awards at Nashville’s Music City Center on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA)

Jon Pardi paid homage to the late Joe Diffie with a performance of “Pickup Man” live from Nashville during the 2020 CMA Awards. 

The country newcomer got the people on their feet with a twang-filled rendition of the legendary star’s signature hit. As the fiddle sawed and guitar wailed, members of the limited audience at the Music City Center rose to their feet clapping and singing along, including Ashley McBryde, who sang along with tablemate Miranda Lambert, as Caylee Hammack, Luke Combs’ wife Nicole Combs and Diffie’s wife Tara Diffie danced to the familiar tune, Pardi doing Diffie’s memory proud.  

“I will be happy to be waving the Joe Diffie flag and ’90s country at the CMA Awards,” Pardi told The Country Daily ahead of the show.

“Pickup Man” was featured on Diffie’s 1994 album Third Rock From the Sun and served as his longest-running number one hit, sitting at the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for four weeks between 1994 and 1995. 

Diffie passed away in March at the age of 61 from complications from COVID-19, leaving the country music community in mourning for the icon.

Co-hosted by Darius Rucker and Reba McEntire, the 54th Annual CMA Awards aired live on ABC from Nashville’s Music City Center on November 11.