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Joe Diffie

Homecoming – 2010 (Rounder)

Reviewed by John Walker

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CDs by Joe Diffie

With a album titled "Homecoming," one may conjure up thoughts of days long gone behind us and the hopes of rekindling some of those old emotions and feelings as we go back to reminisce. That is exactly what Joe Diffie has done with his label debut.

Diffie has long been a staple in country music, charting 12 number 1 songs and writing several other hit songs for other country artists as well. He did, however, cut his teeth in bluegrass as a young man. Diffie returns to this genre here, and receives strong support from Rhonda Vincent, Bradley Walker, Alecia Nugent and The Grascals, among others.

Diffie is renowned for his strong vocal presence, which is keenly on his display. Supported by a core band including Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Bryan Sutton on guitar, Charlie Cushman on banjo, Mike Compton on mandolin, and Rob Ickes on resonator guitar, and you have all of the ingredients for a fantastic bluegrass record, which mixes traditional and modern bluegrass.

The opening Flatt & Scruggs song, Somehow Tonight, sets the tone with the sweeping tight harmonies, immediately followed by Lonesome and Dry As A Bone, a modern timeless song written by Shawn Camp.

Diffie's passion shines purely on the sentimental Route 5 Box 109, along with the gospel song Fit For a King. His trademark wit and humor is also captured with the fun song Tall Cornstalk. The Grascals step in and drive Larry Cordle's I Know How It Feels.

This is one homecoming is definitely worth celebrating.