Country Music People May 2019 - Page 13

JOE'S PLACE REAL COUNTRY SERVED HERE Duncan Warwick speaks to the hit-making traditionalist ahead of his live UK debut this September. W hen you make a perfect album it can extremely difficult to recapture that magic. Just ask Clint Black or Alan Jackson. They exploded into the country music world with Killin’ Time and Don’t Rock The Jukebox respectively, and despite careers spanning several decades, the production of the necessary quantities of fairy dust needed to replicate that ‘specialness’ is very hard to do indeed. But it’s not just the songs, the players, the producer, it’s the pressure to keep the wheels rolling. Those same wheels you’ve been trying to get moving for years. You become a cog in the vast machine of Music Row, you become a cash cow, and, to mix metaphors completely, they’re not about to let you stop laying the golden egg if they can help it. For that matter you could ask Joe Nichols as well. The 2002 album that put him on the map, Man With A Memory, is one of those very special albums. Its title can be mentioned among the very best of the new traditionalists from a decade earlier. The Impossible, Nichols’ chart debut that peaked at #3, is what can only be described as a ‘big’ song. The “I’ve learned to never underestimate the impossible” line resonates like few others. It’s so good that it could have been a hit a decade earlier or ten years from now. Brokenheartsville, the second single, made it all the way to the top spot, and deservedly so. It’s one of the best records of the past 20 years. She Only Smokes When She Drinks and Cool To Be A Fool were also singles, but the quality of material across the album is stunning. You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet could put Randy Travis to shame, and as for Can’t Hold A Halo To You, it would be easy to imagine Vern Gosdin and Keith Whitley fighting over it. Yes, Man With A Memory is very special indeed, and even though his career is littered with some very fine country records indeed, Joe Nichols is keen to recapture some of that early magic going forward. MAY 2019 - cmp 13