Country icon Joe Nichols has released his 10th studio album titled Never Gets Old, and he’s included a surprise: a collaboration with none other than Sir Mix-A-Lot….Yes, you read that correctly!
Never Gets Old offers what Nichols does best: traditional country music storytelling with a smooth and classic sound. The multi-platinum Red Bow recording artist already has six No. 1 hits and eight top 10 singles to his credit. He’s also a four-time Grammy nominee, the winner of the Academy of Country Music’s “Top Male Vocalist” award, the CMT “Breakthrough Video of the Year” award, and the “Horizon Award” from the Country Music Association. In a recent interview with Nichols, we discussed the new album, his rapping skills, and how he stays true to his country roots.
Joe Nichols is the kind of artist you can count on to continuously put out quality work and not chase fads. He holds his Arkansas roots and Southern heritage close, and says it’s part of why he loves the country genre so much. Nichols has never ventured into pop-country territory, and explained that traditional sound is a better fit: “I want to feel passion for the music I do, I don’t want to do a song that I hate for the next 30 years. I still love all those songs like ‘Sunny And 75,’ ‘Yeah,’ and ‘Brokenheartsville.’ I’ve always wanted to stay country, it’s what I’m best at.” His musical influences range from Merle Haggard, Keith Whitley, Don Williams and George Strait to Roberta Flack, Etta James and Otis Redding. Simply stated, he’s a music fan.
Photo credit: Joseph Llanes
Regarding the meaning behind his album title, he says, “Country music is in my life, it’s never gotten old for me.” Nichols is proud of this album and compares it to his 1996 debut: “The song quality is as good as it’s ever been, it reminds me of my first album, so many different moments that have different paths.”
His deep, seemingly effortless vocals add authenticity to his work, and he’s got a way of mixing traditional country storytelling with modern themes. One of the tracks in which his vocals particularly shine is on “Billy Graham’s Bible,” which also appeared on Nichols last album Crickets. He explains the beautiful but simple message, saying, “Everything has its place in the world and my place is with you.”
Photo credit: Joseph Llanes
“This Side of the River” reminds Nichols of his daughters. The lyrics are meant to inspire you to enjoy being in the moment, because life doesn’t last forever. Never Gets Old also has some fun songs that are sure to become crowd favorites, including “Diamonds Make Babies,” a track previously cut by Dierks Bentley and written by Chris Stapleton, Jim Beavers, and Lee Miller, and “Tall Boys,” a slightly more modern-country party song with pretty girls, drinking beer and just having fun. He even explores the sensual, intimate side of a relationship with “Breathless” and “Hostage,” but does so in a way that’s touching and real. (He describes both tracks as undeniable “bedroom songs.”)
While it may seem odd for a cover of a rap song to appear on a country album, Nichols has been incorporating a cover of “Baby Got Back” in his live shows for years, and it quickly became a fan favorite. He explains: “I pranked my band a few years ago by breaking into the song in one of my concerts and they just kicked right in there with me. The crowd loved it and we were shocked that we pulled it off. It’s very country with big ol’ steel guitar and it became a thing so we started making it part of our shows. Of course I had to cut it for Never Gets Old and when Mix agreed to be in the music video, I was freaking out.”
The video, which marks the first time that Mix has appeared in a remake video in the song’s 25 year history, was kept a secret until Nichols released it on his Facebook page on July 31st. An instant hit, the video racked up more than 1 million views in just 24 hours. Sir Mix-A-Lot had this to say about Nichols’ version: “After hearing about Joe doing BGB live, I’ve had little spies at his shows ever since and people seem to love when he performs it every single night. Honestly, I didn’t think he would ever release it…but BAM…he did it. Then we received a call asking about us getting in the video which was cool but, it was really Joe himself who won me over by not only respecting the artistic integrity of the song but, NOT trying to rap on the song. He truly made a whole new song of it and in my opinion he never abandoned his Country roots.” His personality really shines in this cover, showing that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Watch the Joe Nichols/Sir Mix-A-Lot countrified-“Baby Got Back” collaboration here.
Stand out tracks on Never Gets Old:
“Never Gets Old” is a very sweet sentimental love song. He explains: “It’s a very well written, sweet little message, sweet love song with a good sentiment about what loving somebody really is. It is hard sometimes but it never feels old, never gets old, I could do this forever.” Key Lyrics: “Never gets old watching you laugh, feeling your kiss, kissing me back / I never get tired, tired of that, no it never gets old.”
“We All Carry Something” is a highly emotional song with a heavy but relatable message. Written by Westin Davis and Justin Weaver, the song addresses addiction, domestic violence, PTSD and ends with the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross. He says, “It immediately grips you with a very real story, an alcoholic craving, it’s like wow, pretty deep stuff. The meaning never goes away, the chorus brings it up again saying hey, this is heavy but we’ve all got junk that we’re carrying. It has a positive message as well.” Key lyrics: “We all carry something the makes us who we are, standing in the rain, oh deep within our hearts therein lies the pain, know you’re not alone, so keep holding on.”
It’s safe to say that the nearly 4-year wait between albums was worth it. Never Gets Old is a well-rounded project offering a variety of songs ranging from good time party tunes to sentimental love songs. It contains tracks written by some of the industry’s best songwriters and Nichols puts his classic, traditional sound on each track.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and his website. Never Gets Old is available on iTunes now.
Never Gets Old Official Track Listing:
- “Diamonds Make Babies” (Chris Stapleton, Jim Beavers, Lee Miller)
- “Girl in the Song” (Lynn Hutton, Neal Coty)
- “We All Carry Something” (Westin Davis, Justin Weaver)
- “I’d Sing About You” (Chris Janson, Preston Brust, Chris Lucas)
- “Breathless” (Zach Crowell, Matt Jenkins, Jon Nite)
- “Tall Boys” (Monty Criswell, Shane Minor, Tom Shapiro)
- “Hostage” (Brett Tyler, Aaron Eshuis, Ryan Lafferty)
- “Never Gets Old” (Steve Moakler, Connie Harrington)
- “Billy Graham’s Bible” (Chris Dubois, Jimmy Melton, Neal Coty)
- “So You’re Saying” (Ross Copperman, Chris Tompkins, Josh Kear)
- “This Side of The River” (Clint Daniels, Justin Lantz, Jeremy Crady)
- “Baby Got Back” (Anthony Ray)