Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 30, 2005

An interview with Joe Nichols

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

From having a record deal and a promising start in the music industry, to selling barbecue ribs and playing his music in bars, than back once again to the top of his game, country singer Joe Nichols has seen his shares of ups and downs.

He was signed to Giant Records in 1999, but the label eventually shut its doors and Nichols was left without a deal.

“We moved on, and thankfully there was another label that felt like home to us at Universal South,” Nichols said. Not long after he got his second deal, his songs “The Impossible” and “Brokenheartsville” both became multi-week number one hits and, before long, Nichols found himself opening for country superstar Alan Jackson.

“It was a very fast start with a couple number ones,” Nichols said. “It was pretty amazing to go from playing at a little bar and serving barbecue ribs . . . it’s a pretty immediate change to go from there to opening for Alan Jackson within a matter of a couple of months,” Nichols said.

“What he did for me was give me the opportunity to reach a huge fan base over the course of the year,” he added.

Nichols was named the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award winner in 2003, as well as the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist. He has also been nominated for four Grammy awards.

Growing up in rural Arkansas, Nichols wanted nothing more than to be like his father when he grew up.

“My dad was a musician, and he played around the house all the time,” Nichols said. “He’d play constantly. Every little boy wants to be like his daddy, and I was no different.”

“We traveled together a little bit and got to play some dates together, but by the time I got around to where I was actually playing music, he was getting kinda sick, so we didn’t really have a whole lot of time to do that, but the time I did have was great.”

Perhaps one of the songs on Nichols latest album, “Revelation,” sums it up the best when he sings about some things in life that you’re thankful you had the opportunity to do, but that you can’t help but “wish that wasn’t all.”

Currently, Nichols is in the process of working on his third album, and making a decision that could be crucial to his future in the music business.

“I think we’ve decided there’s an element about me we haven’t touched, and we’re going to try to do some of that on the next album,” he said, noting the difference between some of his slower songs, and his most recent hit ‘What’s a Guy Gotta Do.’”

“I’m proud to have written that song,” Nichols said. “It’s the story of every guy’s life at some time or another,” he said. His follow-up single will more than likely be something off his upcoming album. He noted one song in particular that’s becoming a quick favorite.

“It’s a song called ‘Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,’ he said with a laugh. “It’s pretty great. We’ll come out with something probably before the end of June.”

For this summer, he and his band are doing between 120 and 130 shows, and “working our tails off,” he said, doing some shows with other artists, playing the fairs and festivals, and doing some solo shows as well.

His next album will be out sometime this fall, and he said he is still putting the final touches on it.

Nichols will take the Winstock stage Friday at 8:30 p.m.

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