Oklahoma native and former foundry worker Joe Diffie has lasted a decade in a country environment known for an uncertain career life-expectancy, and he's managed this feat largely because he can sing

Oklahoma native and former foundry worker Joe Diffie has lasted a decade in a country environment known for an uncertain career life-expectancy, and he's managed this feat largely because he can sing like a bandit. He has also been pretty adept at song selection—save a couple of novelty missteps—and he continues that trend with In Another World, his first effort following an internal label shift from Epic to Monument. In a savvy production maneuver, the record manages to forge highly contemporary feels—on songs like the soaring title cut—without sacrificing Diffie's considerable vocal appeal on cuts like the biting "My Give a Damn's Busted" and the first-rate John Scott Sherrill/Shawn Camp composition, "Hollow Deep as Mine." Diffie owns the piano-based ballad "If I Lost Her," and "Stoned On Her Love" is well-performed country funk. Diffie shines brightest on the fiddle-laced midtempo "Like a River Dreams of Rain," and the closer, a rare five-minute-plus sentimental exercise called "The Granpa That I Know," a stoic Appalachian treat that's as hillbilly as a jar of moonshine.—RW