CMA Music Festival 2018: 20 Best Free Concerts

From Ashley McBryde and Michael Ray to the Last Bandoleros and Midland, the must-see no-ticket-required sets this week in Nashville

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 Joe Diffie
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Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for Country Thunder9/20

Joe Diffie

When: Sunday, June 10th, 2:45 p.m.
Where: Budweiser Forever Country Stage
If Joe Diffie had only ever recorded "Honky Tonk Attitude," "John Deere Green" and "Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)," that would have been enough reason to go see him at any CMA Music Festival or Fan Fair. But Diffie, one of the finest honky-tonk singers to emerge from the Nineties country boom, built up an impressive string of hits like "Ships That Don't Come In" and "Pickup Man" that tempered his grittier blue-collar roots with a winking, dad-joke sense of humor. His chart fortunes didn't follow him into the new millennium, but he's continued to be a draw as a live performer and periodically put out new music – including the underrated 2010 bluegrass effort Homecoming. In 2018, Diffie released his first new music in five years with the funky "I Got This," reasserting his blue-collar bona fides and suggesting that there's not too much difference between skilled labor and skilled loving. J.F.

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