“New Way (to Light Up an Old Flame)”
Written by Joe Diffie and Lonnie Wilson
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
October 11, 1991
Joe Diffie goes four for four.
The Road to No. 1
“New Way” is the fourth and final single from Diffie’s debut album, A Thousand Winding Roads, and like all of its predecessors, it topped the chart.
The No. 1
This is the record that lays down the template for uptempo nineties country, with the aggressive, in-your-face instrumentation associated with rock music being delivered with pure country instruments.
You can understand why country music suddenly sounded so cool to young listeners, and it’s an early preview of the huge hits that would make Joe Diffie a top seller by the mid-nineties.
And it’s a great song, with Diffie forcefully declaring his determination to rekindle an old flame. It’s appropriate that he’s channeling Buck Owens vocally, who helped give country music an electrifying kick in the behind in the sixties with the Bakersfield sound. This is different in style from those old records but identical in spirit.
Joe Diffie was so damn good.
The Road From No. 1
A Thousand Winding Roads didn’t sell gold or platinum like Diffie’s next few albums would, but it was his set with the most No. 1 hits. His next album, Regular Joe, was previewed with the appropriately chilling “Is it Cold in Here,” which went top five. He returned to the top with the second single from that album, which many believe is the best record of his career. We’ll cover it when we get to 1992.
“New Way (to Light Up an Old Flame)” gets an A.