Joe Nichols Biography
Review The Artist (11)
As everyone who hears his amazingly rich and mature baritone instantly realizes, classic country music has always formed the home, the heart, and the soundtrack of Joe Nichols' life. "It starts when you're a kid," he says. "It's like dreaming of becoming a fireman, or anything else: You want to be great at something. For me, it was country music; that was what I cared about. It's like growing up with certain foods, or a favorite blanket, or shirt, or fabric: Later on, you want to re-identify with whatever it is, more than anything else."
Nichols was raised with an older brother and younger sister in Rogers, Arkansas, a medium-sized small town near Fayetteville. In this "suburbia, but without a big city nearby," as he recalls it, Nichols' mother was a single mom and his father drove a truck but also played bass and sang; Nichols would hear and watch his dad perform at VFW dates. Like Nichols' grandfather and uncles, his dad played classic country music. "Their kind of country," Nichols remembers, "was the music I've always liked to listen to, my favorite records: George Jones, Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins"
At high school in the 90s, Nichols' friends had other favorites. "The people I hung out with were into the pop culture, which at the time meant a lot of rock and roll that was extremely popular: AC/DC, Motley Cr�d so on. Of course, I thought they were cool. But their music, well, I couldn't really get it. I could hear it was good. But as far as being passionate about it as music, I couldn't." So Nichols started tuning in to songs by the 80s and 90s heirs of the Jones-Haggard-Robbins tradition, artists like Randy Travis, and Alan Jackson. "They had real cool voices and finished sounds. They were right in the tradition. But in their music, everything was fresh."
Right in the tradition, yet fresh. There, in a couple of unflashy phrases, is Man with a Memory, Nichols' Universal South debut, precisely. Produced with a straightahead excellence by the noted Nashville guitarist Brent Rowan, the collection presents brand-new country music so passionately considered, played, and sung that it has no need whatsoever for any sort of add-ons. "The music Brent and I record," Nichols says, "has a simplicity to it; it's so simple, in fact, that it1s kind of difficult. You know how on some records a guitar player, for example, will start playing something tricky? It'll be like he's saying 'Hey man, check me out'." We paid our musicians not to over-play, not to hot-dog; we wanted every note to matter. There are no check-me-outs."
Instead, there are a dozen songs, each sung by Nichols with guts and polish, that testify in diverse ways to the ongoing vitality of classic country. "The Impossible", a ballad with a gospel-like fervor, chronicles the great long unpredictable sweep of sometimes difficult life as a man implores with a woman not to give up "on you and me," even though "the fury of the wind" can be harsh. A cool groove, "Brokenheartsville", proceeds at a more chipper pace, as a girl and her new boyfriend drive off in a Cadillac while her ex bitterly drinks a twisted toast to her future. "She Only SmokesĶ", traces the plight of a woman who lights up only when she drinks, which usually happens when some guy's broken her heart. It's a new honky-tonk tune, as are more upbeat songs like the foot-loose "Joe's Place", which celebrates a bar with "pickled eggs in a jar" as well as a jukebox packed with great old tunes. Then there's "Everything's A Thing", one of the album's three songs that Nichols co-wrote. It's a way cool bluesy jaunt that wrestles with knowing, as Nichols sings, that "It's all laid out/ In the scheme of things/No matter what it is/Everything's a thing."
Man with a Memory is exactly the album Nichols moved to Nashville to write and sing, the one that had been in so many ways in the making since he was an Arkansas kid. "People like me," he says, "grew up listening to stuff from a long time ago, and they haven't forgotten the sound, the style. The songs don't have to be about anything unrealistic right now; they can be, for example, about driving around in a boat on a lake. The subject matter may not be about riding horses and shooting guns, but the sound of classic country, it still deals with the homeland, the heartland, even if that's in the form of today's suburban life."
After doing the usual round of jobs that most aspirant young country singers hold down, from moving furniture to installing cable TV systems, Nichols hooked up with Rowan three years ago; Brian Spradlin, Nichols' best friend and guitar player, then working at a cartage company, moved equipment for Rowan, and he kept insisting to Rowan that he meet with Nichols. "Brian probably made a nuisance of himself," Nichols recalls. "Brent finally listened, and called the next day."
They saw things similarly, the sessioneer extrordinaire who had played on scores of big-time Nashville records and the terrific young singer who had read the guitarist's name on credits for years. "Brent and I wanted to make a record that we would buy," Nichols says. "We wanted to feel that we would turn in a record where there would be no compromises, no saying well, I'm not sure about this song or that song. We wanted twelve hits, really, that would all be contenders. I love hit records; I just want to be singing them."
He will. "The core of your songs and music," Nichols says, "needs to be about what you know, what you feel. You can spice it up, flavor it, add this or take away that. You can add colors, make it modern-sounding, make it different, unique, or off-the-wall. You can, I believe, add things to classic country without making the core of it vanish. You can wear any kind of clothes that you want to wear, you can put on this or that. But that classic country base, that's what I'm always going to come home to. Because that's where it is for me."
Just a little more information for you regaurding Joe Nichols. He has another CD out, although hard to find, it's title is "Six of one, Half dozen of the other". If memory serves right, it was released in 1999. The title track is a great song as well as the other nine tracks. The sultry voice of this "newcommer", is shown through and through when you listen to"In spite of myself". Kick your heels up with the song "Wal-Mart Parking Lot". I could go on and on about this CD, but if you are one of the lucky ones who can find it, it is worth buying. My "sources" tell me that Joe had a contract dispute with his former label/manager and so if you see Joe Nichols live in concert, don't count on hearing any of these songs. I really wish he'd play them. His fans are missing out when they aren't played.
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karaoke with joey | Reviewer: john benard | 8/8/12
in the early 90's my wife tracey and i had a karaoke booth in rogers arkinsas . one afternoon a long haired pretty boy wanted to sing some country . i gave him the mike and as he sang i just fell in love with his voice , not to mention every time he sang the crouds would gather around to listen .i taped a couple of his songs a told him that some day this tape will be worth something .joey left to go to texas to start up a band . that was the last i saw him ,he was about seventeen .i would listen for him on the radio and finally i heard him .joey was a very talented boy and i knew he would make it . i am proud to say that he sang with me at the fair.i still have the mike that he used and the tape of him singing .my phone # is 478-442-1862 if he wants the tape .
From Rogers | Reviewer: Charity | 8/2/12
Haven't been fortunate to see Joe preform as the huge wonderful country star he is today but I recall great memories of our teen years & Boot Scootin....I will be seeing him preform finally in Odessa. :-) yay!
you sang the flip flops right off of my feet ! | Reviewer: kimber dalbey | 6/22/11
I ATTENDED THE WAPELLO COUNTY FAIR IN ELDON IOWA.I WAS AMAZED AT HOW HE GOT THE AUDIENCE SO INTO HIS MUSIC.I JUST COULDNT SIT DOWN.THREE FRIENDS AND MYSELF HAD THE BEST TIME WE'VE EVER HAD AT A SMALL COUNTY FAIR.JOE WAS SO APPRECIATIVE,HE THANKED THE AUDIENCE,HIS FANS,OUR SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES.WHEN HE SANG THE IMPOSSIBLE I CLIMBED UP ON THAT FOLDING CHAIR AND SANG EVERY WORD WITH HIM AS LOUD AS I COULD,EVERY HAIR WAS STANDING STRAIGHT ON BOTH MY ARMS.HE TRUELY IS A WONDERFUL ARTIST.I ALSO LOVE THE SONG WHO ARE YOU WHEN I'M NOT LOOKING,SHOULD HAVE BEEN A JOE NICHOLS HIT! THANK YOU FOR BLESSING ELDON IA.,HOME OF THE AMERICAN GOTHIC HOUSE WITH YOUR HEART FELT MUSIC.COME BACK ANY TIME.
Who are you when I'm not looking.... | Reviewer: Krystal | 12/16/10
Joe Nichols is one of my all time favorite artists! He is so gorgeous and his voice is absolutely flawless. I was able to see him live and sat in the VIP section and he was AMAZING!! Who Are You When I'm Not Looking is my favorite song by Joe Nichols and should've become a hit for him rather than Blake Shelton. Keep up the good work Joe!
The Impossible | Reviewer: Alisha | 4/30/10
Thanks to you Joe for writing this song if it wasn't for this song i probably wouldn't have the feelings i do now. When i get asked wat is my fav song, i would have to say the Impossible. If this is too much to ask i would like to now if you can perform at the stockey centre so i can have your autograph and a picture with you. I would also love to see you perform up close. I would also like to ask you why did you write the impossible, and everything you said in the song real.
you inspired me joe..... | Reviewer: gheenel | 12/15/09
it was just now that i fell in love with joe nichols song.... brokenheartsville.... listening to it and looking a joe's face would make my day complete.... then i tried to look into other songs of joe and i didnt know that he sang the song .... to tell you the truth i lied which i once liked to listen before.... now i a trying to have a collection of joe nichols' songs.... keep it up joe.... god bless always
Your music is great | Reviewer: cj | 8/6/07
The music is great to leason to. I wouldn't be able to pick my favorit song or video because there are so many that I like of yours. Hard to pick witch on I like the most.
I love his music | Reviewer: Jestyne | 5/16/07
Joe thank u so much for singing I'll wait for you me and my Feonca are now engaged will listening to that song he's leaving for th army and i'm going to be waiting for him to come back and hopefully he'll be back in time to see his son being born.Thank you again.
The Awesome Mr. Joe Nichols | Reviewer: blujeanbaby | 7/9/06
Having been fortunate enough to see Joe Nichols 8 times this year I have nothing but wonderful and positive praise for this awesome singer. Joe has a voice reminiscent of Keith Whitley. He has a wonderful deep baritone that will vibrate your heart and he sings with such emotion that he'll move you right out of your seat. He is a traditional country artist in the truest sense of the word and he fullfills all of the requirements that will make him as much a legend as the Hanks, Haggard, Whitley and Jones. His newest album III has spawned 3 singles and the most recent release "I'll Wait for You" is about as touching and beautiful as you will ever hear. The song was written by Harley Allen and Bill Anderson. I simply can't wait to hear what Joe has in store for us with his future album. I understand he is presently in the process of making the song selections. Man With A Memory and Revelation are also absolutely tremendous cd's and well worth the money to add them to your collection. Joe Nichols is without a doubt worthy of the respect and admiration of all traditional country fans. A purer, more satisfying voice you'll never find.
a great hook | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/22/06
Every song I have heard from Joe Nichols has a great lead in or hook. Just like in Brokenheartsville: He wore his cowboy hat to cover up his horns......Or in the newer song, Someday (Size Matters) well, anyone can get the twist on this song, and it justs warms me to no end to think this song is about me. LOL. Well, anyway just wanted to give Mr. Nichols a handshake for some of his wonderful stuff.
joe nichols | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/12/04
JOE NICHOLS IS A VERY GOOD LOOKING GUY. HE HAS WONDERFUL SONGS, AND ONE OF MY FAVORITES IS IF NOBODY BELIEVED IN YOU. THAT SONG IS AWESOME. JOE NICHOLS IS AWESOME.
THANKS FOR LETTING ME PUT WHAT I THINK ABOUT JOE NICHOLS
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