Traditional country music singer Joe Nichols, of Nashville, will co-headline with Sara Evans Saturday evening at the Missouri State Fair and he said he’s at the top of his game with his new release “Yeah.”
Nichols’ song “Yeah,” written by Ashley Gorley and Bryan Simpson, from his album, “Crickets,” has held the No. 1 spot for three consecutive weeks on the Billboard Country Airplay chart — this makes him only the second country music artist to have a three-week No. 1 run after Luke Bryan’s “Play it Again.”
While on a recent drive across Nebraska he talked to the Democrat about his newest hit and his career by phone.
“It’s a big song, three weeks at No. 1,” he said. “That’s only happened one other time in my career. That makes me feel pretty good about it. It connects with the fans, they love it — they love it at the shows and they are buying records, and buying singles. So that’s how you can tell if they’re a hit. I’m proud of the song because it’s been with me the longest.”
He said he started the album “Crickets” with his own money, beginning with four singles in the studio.
“It was my own bank account, so we set out to make another two songs to get a label and kind of jump in,” Nichols said. “And that’s what we did.”
Nichols is represented by RED Bow Records, a newly created entity of BBR Music Group and Sony RED.
He said he feels with the the single “Yeah,” and the “Crickets” album he’s at his highest career point.
“Think we’re at it right now,” Nichols said. “I think this is probably the biggest moment we’ve ever had. We’ve had two No. 1’s since 2002 … ‘The Impossible,’ and ‘Brokenheartsville.’ And along the way we’ve never had the sustained successes that we are having right now, the momentum that we have right now. I think with the catalog that we have and the existing album, I think we have a great future over the next few years. But certainly this album is one of my best. My producers on this album are great, the songs on this album are outstanding, and I think we’ve got eight or nine singles on this album.”
A native of Rogers, Ark., Nichols has always had singing in his blood — he laughed and noted that he was a disc jockey while in high school and had at one time wanted to be a rock singer.
“In high school I did the midnight to 6 a.m. shift,” he said. “From the radio station I’d go to school all tired-eyed. Mother didn’t like that much.”
It soon became evident that his rich voice had a natural, pure county vibe and the rock n’ roll genre wouldn’t be a career choice.
“I tried to be in a rock band for about five minutes when I was in high school,” he said. “I was probably maybe 15 years old and there was a rock band that was a pretty hot deal in high school and they lost their singer. They wanted to audition some singers and they heard that I sang. So I went and auditioned for them — it was one of the deals where we all looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah this ain’t for me.’ I sang just way too country to be a rock singer. And they were like, ‘Yeah you’re a country dude.’ That’s how I knew I couldn’t do anything else other than country.”
During his career Nichols, who began singing professionally in March 2002, said he has written some of his own music, “What’s a Guy Gotta Do,” and “Cool to be a Fool.”
“And several album cuts along the way,” he added.
Nichols said he looks to traditional country music singers Merle Haggard, George Strait, George Jones and Hank Williams Jr. as his inspiration. With the style of these country greats in mind Nichols’ music, by his own right, has garnered him four Grammy nominations.
“I’m very proud to have been nominated for Grammys,” he said. “That’s a big deal. And I’m proud to say the people I lost to were big deals. I think I lost to Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill and I think the Dixie Chicks.
This summer he been busy touring with Lady Antebellum with the “Take Me Down” tour.
“Yeah, we started with them back in May, I believe,” he said. “And I have been enjoying a few weekends here and there with them throughout the summer. I think we’ll wrap up with them in late September. They’re a great group, they’re such a family vibe and such great people. It’s a very cool tour to be a part of, it’s one of my favorites.”
At the end of day, at the end of the tour, when the entertainment is complete, Nichols said it all boils down to his wife and children.
“More than any music I think my purpose is to be a good dad, which I’m trying to be,” he said. “I have three (children) a 15-year-old, a 2-year-old and a 2-month-old. Yeah I think that’s the most important thing.”
For more information on Joe Nichols visit his website at www.joenichols.com.
Joe Nichols and Sara Evans will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pepsi Grandstand at the Missouri State Fair. Tickets cost $35, $30, $25, and $20; for more information visit www.mostatefair.com or call 1-800-422-FAIR ext. 3247.