Joe Diffie

A Night to Remember

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Throughout his career, Joe Diffie was known as a reliable recordmaker, the kind of country musician that could always turn out a hit single or two on a solid album. It's easy to take an artist like that for granted, and it's also easy to not notice when there's a subtle change in his style, as there is on A Night to Remember, his seventh album and first since the career-capping 1998 Greatest Hits collection. It's not that A Night to Remember radically redefines Diffie's music, but it does find him supremely confident -- confident enough to create the purest country album he's ever made. With just ten songs, he has made the tightest album of his career, one that features no novelties or pop trifles. With the assistance of producers Don Cook and Lonnie Wilson, Diffie has stripped back his music to the bare essentials, yet retained the easygoing charm and clean, melodic appeal that has made him a dependable chart-topper. The combination is quite enjoyable, especially since the ten songs are all very strong, whether they're originals (including his own version of his co-written "You Can't Go Home," originally recorded by Conway Twitty) or covers (such as the title song, "The Quittin' Kind," and "Don't Our Love Look Natural"). The best country artists don't lose their gifts as they age, their talents deepen. And from the basis of A Night to Remember, Diffie may be one of the few artists of the '90s whose talents are deepening.

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