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Joe Nichols

Real Things – 2007 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Joe Nichols

Following in Keith Urban's footsteps, Joe Nichols recently got married and then almost immediately checked himself into a substance abuse rehabilitation program. Whether or not this will change the plans to release the track "Let's Get Drunk and Fight" as the second single remains to be seen.

Actually, irony aside, that might be the best way to go. Nichols's previous album yielded 3 top 10 singles and his first number 1 since 2003's "Brokenheartsville," and on this follow-up, the titillatingly-titled "Let's Get Drunk..." appears to be to be the best bet to replicate the success of "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off."

Not that there aren't other strong tracks here. "Comin' Back in a Cadillac" is a cocksure canticle to forthcoming success, and "It Ain't No Crime" just might be the ultimate slacker anthem.

The album as a whole suffers slightly from a surfeit of slow introspective ballads like "She's All Lady," "All I Need is a Heart" and the duet with Lee Ann Womack "If I Could Only Fly." (And it may just seem that way since it is a generous 13-track package.) Of course, there's nothing wrong with introspection - it's step 4 of the 12-step program - and if they wanted to have the best of both worlds they might opt for the pensive-but-still-bound-for-rehab "My Whiskey Years" as the second single.