The pain was so bad that Joe Diffie says he couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes. Spinal stenosis severely hindered the “John Deere Green” singer’s mobility on and off stage, but he’s better now.

After back surgery in March, Diffie has returned to the stage a new man. He tells the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News that the difference is incredible. “They went in there, roto-rooted it and I’m good to go,” Diffie says.

“It had been bothering me for a couple of years. It wasn’t just affecting my business, my music, but it was affecting my life with my kids. I couldn’t get out and walk around a zoo. I couldn’t stand up for more than about five minutes without my feet going completely numb. I was in excruciating pain but I’m good to go now.”

Diffie’s spring, summer and early fall are packed with tour dates, so there’s no time to be in pain. He’ll be playing most weekends through Labor Day, including this weekend’s shows in Ohio and a May 27 show at the Grand Ole Opry. Musically he says he’s exploring partnerships for his next release, and isn’t sure if he’ll release an EP, full album or single.

His catalog includes “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox” and “Pickup Man.” In 2013 he enjoyed a career resurgence when Jason Aldean cut “1994,” a song that name-checked Diffie. The Third Rock From the Sun album is considered his most iconic, although he was a reliable radio artist for a full decade.

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