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Joe Nichols

Never Gets Old – 2017 (Red Bow)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Joe Nichols

Joe Nichols is best known by many as the guy that sings "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off," so it seems like more than mere coincidence how "Never Gets Old" opens with "Diamonds Make Babies," another song featuring a lyrical example of anthropomorphism. Such a lyrical tactic may grow tiresome quick, but hearing Nichols' resonant, traditional country singing voice will never ever get old.

Nichols is an extremely expressive singer, which is why he can sing something light like "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" with a wink in his eye. He covers rapper Sir Mix-A-Lots' "I Like Butts" on this album, and he may be the only country singer who can get away with that. Better still, though, is when he sings more serious stuff. One here called "Billy Graham's Bible," for instance, describes how the love of a good woman can make a man truly "come alive." He compares himself to Billy Graham's Bible, which would be just another copy of the good book without that great evangelist preaching from it. Similarly, Willie Nelson's old, beat up acoustic guitar is nothing special until a certain old red head makes beautiful music with it. This lyric is a smart way of describing the way inspiring love means everything. The ballad "We All Carry Something" speaks of the baggage - both literal and figurative - we always have with us. The song ends with Nichols describing how Jesus carried something special, the cross. Wow, powerful stuff!

There are few flaws in this overall strong effort. However, it's frustrating when Nichols describes a girl at a concert in "Girl in the Song," where they're both together at a Tom Petty show (not a bad choice, mind you), but not attending a country show. You sometimes get the impression country artists only have fun at rock shows, rather than performances by their own genre. Then with "I'd Sing About You," Nichols imagines he's Tom Petty. He does, however, also name-drop both Willie Nelson and Hank Williams in this same song, so country isn't completely left out in the cold.

For the most part, Nichols keeps the sound country - even when he's singing about rock and roll. And when it comes to straight up country singing, there are few better vocalists than Nichols. "Never Gets Old" is a consistently fine effort.