The Last Studio Recording by Toby Keith Was a Cover of Joe Diffie’s Song

The Last Studio Recording by Toby Keith Was a Cover of Joe Diffie's Song
Photo: cowboysindians

Toby Keith’s last recording, released on March 29, marks a poignant moment in country music history. It comes as part of a tribute album honoring the legacy of fellow ’90s country star, Joe Diffie.

HARDY, the mastermind behind the HIXTAPE series, unveiled the third volume, titled “HIXTAPE Vol. 3: DIFFTAPE.” This installment is unique as it solely pays homage to Joe Diffie and his remarkable collection of hits.

>>READ ALSO: Toby Keith’s Daughter Reveals Unseen Moments of Toby As A Grandpa

For “HIXTAPE Vol. 3: DIFFTAPE,” HARDY assembled a stellar lineup of country music’s finest to cover 17 of Diffie’s greatest songs. The album ingeniously blends the original 2006 master recordings of Diffie’s hits with fresh recordings from contemporary country stars.

The roster includes luminaries such as Lainey Wilson, Clint Black, Luke Bryan, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, and Brooks & Dunn, among others. However, the spotlight shines brightly on a collaborative effort featuring Joe Diffie, Luke Combs, and Toby Keith. Remarkably, this recording stands as Keith’s final contribution to music before his passing on February 5th.

In their rendition of Diffie’s 1992 hit “Ships That Don’t Come In,” Toby Keith and Luke Combs lend their voices in harmony, adding depth and poignancy to the timeless ballad.

“Ships That Don’t Come In,” penned by Paul Nelson and Dave Gibson, weaves a tale of connection between two strangers, united by shared experiences of longing and unfulfilled dreams. It’s a poignant reflection on life’s uncertainties and the resilience of the human spirit.


While the song may not have soared to the top of the charts during Diffie’s career, it remains a cherished gem among his repertoire, embodying the essence of his artistry.

Joe Diffie’s untimely passing on March 29, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19, left a void in the country music community. Yet, his spirit lives on through his timeless music, ensuring that his legacy endures.

Following Diffie’s passing, Toby Keith paid tribute to his late friend, vowing to keep his music alive. Little did he know that he would become part of a project that immortalizes both him and Diffie as iconic voices in country music history.

Toby Keith’s own battle with stomach cancer culminated in his passing on February 5th, 2024. Despite his health struggles, Keith remained dedicated to his craft, delighting fans with performances and appearances until the end.

The collaboration between Joe Diffie, Luke Combs, and Toby Keith on “Ships That Don’t Come In” serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring power of music to connect us across time and space.

>>READ ALSO: Toby Keith Explained Why He Never Moved to Nashville and The Repercussions of His Decision


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