I circled Aug. 21 on my calendar because it was the day I'd arrive at Best Buy to redeem my gift card.
Why? Because I wanted the new album, "Real Things", by Joe Nichols. And why Best Buy? Because I'd become a victim of something I criticized in the past. Buying an album at a certain location because that was the sole venue where bonus tracks were available.
I thought this time it was worth it. The 13-song album also included three acoustic songs "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off", "Brokenheartsville" and "I'll Wait For You". After listening, all three were well worth it.
I don't know what it is about acoustic country music, but I like it. Do you like acoustic versions of songs or the standard?.
The bonus tracks, while strong, weren't the only reason I bought the album.
I believe Nichols is one of the most underrated traditionalists of our day. Sure, he's scored his biggest hits with what some would call novelty songs, "Tequila...", "What's A Guy Gotta Do" and "Size Matters (Someday)", but listen to some of the album tunes that aren't released to radio.
I think the songs, like the title track, are excellent and creative, but you really need to be in the right mood to listen to them. It's a combination of talking and singing, and the singer really needs to have a special talent to make it work.
"Another Side Of You" is fast-paced and traditional while "Let's Get Drunk and Fight" follows in the footsteps on many fun-loving Nichols' songs.
I wish he hadn't cut "She's All Lady", which was originally recorded by its songwriter Jamey Johnson. Maybe that's because I heard Johnson's version first and loved it. There's a lot more soul in Johnson's version, and it sounds like Nichols is taking a breather on that track.
Still, he continues to improve. And he's recording enough radio-friendly material to remain relevant to those folks (and to sell records). Hopefully, the traditional camp will begin to recognize him as one of its keepers of the flame.