How Dare He Be Real Country!

By Rob Greenwell

Rarely do you see an entertainer who really isn't known as a great musician (Charlie Robison, Eric Heatherly) become so successful so early as Joe Nichols. Keith Urban, perhaps, is a rate example of a great musician who is also enough of a pretty boy to fit the "style" mode of the Nashville "music machines." Joe Nichols is an exception to the mode. A real country singer, though not the best musician (although he didn't screw up live) and yet he is one of the most popular young artists in country music today, with three Grammy nominations to his credit already, which is very unusual. Many country performers wait a lifetime for recognition from an organization not noted for paying much attention to, let alone honoring, country music artists. Nichols undoubtedly should be the favorite going into the new artist awards for the ACM in May and the CMA awards in November.

All of this is a brief history of Joe Nichols who brought his live show to Coyote's Music and Dance Hall on January 23. This guy has had a buzz going around him ever since his song "The Impossible" was released earlier last year. His boyish good looks and incredible vocals have landed him in the hearts of many women fans, which will certainly help him when it comes to album sales. This live show was all about real country with just enough pop country thrown in for good measure.

An artist earns reviewer points when they knowledge the artists that paved the way for them, which is exactly what Joe did, with songs from Haggard, Jones, Hank Jr. and even the party anthem ("You Never Even Called Me By Name") from the rebel David Allan Coe. He played a song that fits him to a tee, "The Blues Man." He really is just a singer. Along with paying homage to his country heroes, he included material from his album which, if the crowd that night was any indication of his success, indicated he is going to be a huge star in this business for years to come.

Nichol's success will not be short-lived, as he is also very friendly with the fans, signing autographs for a long time after the show, trying to talk to everybody who wanted to talk to him. That kind of friendliness will help him prosper in this business, just like it did for his heroes.

I'm converted: buy his album and go see him live, you'll like him.