Chris Young gave a loving tribute to the late Joe Diffie for Sunday night’s ACM Presents: Our Country special, performing “Pickup Man” as a solo acoustic number in a pre-televised streaming time slot. ACM Presents: Our Country filled the April 5th spot vacated by the ACM Awards, which have been postponed until mid-September.
Seated in what appears to be his kitchen — the edge of a stainless-steel refrigerator is visible behind him — the “Drowning” singer lets those ringing open chords fly and demonstrates the limber vocal talent and winking personality required to sing the Howard Perdew and Kerry Kurt Phillips-penned song. The second single from Diffie’s album Third Rock From the Sun, “Pickup Man” spent four weeks at Number One on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart between 1994 and 1995.
Nineties star Diffie, whose hits included “John Deere Green” and “Honky Tonk Attitude,” was an early casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, having gone public with his diagnosis on March 27th. Two days later, he had died from complications related to COVID-19 at the age of 61.
During its broadcast on CBS, ACM Presents: Our Country featured performances from Keith Urban (who will host the rescheduled show in September), Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert. Rising singer-songwriter Tenille Townes also performed her new song “The Most Beautiful Things” during the online stream that led into the televised event.