16 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For his Red Bow debut, Crickets, Joe Nichols updates his traditional country-rooted sound with radio-friendly numbers that celebrate the pleasures of cold beer, warm babes, and backwoods fun. Nichols’ easy yet commanding vocal style (complete with killer baritone moves) gives anything he sings a certain extra gravitas. His knack for simultaneously getting loose and keeping classy serves him well on “Hee Haw” and “Open Up a Can,” a pair of tunes that lean toward the cheerful rowdiness of Luke Bryant and Jake Owen. If there’s a streak of the ornery in these tracks, it’s more than balanced by Nichols’ sweeter, more poppy instincts, evident on romantically inviting fare like “Yeah” and “Baby You’re in Love with Me.” “Sunny and 75” is a simmering, slightly moody tune that captures the singer at his seductive best. When he digs deeply into a slower tune—as he does on the tender “Better Than Beautiful” and the reflective “Billy Graham’s Bible”—Nichols renews his credentials as one of country’s most appealing balladeers. A soulful cover of Merle Haggard’s “Footlights” adds a dash of authentic honky-tonk.

EDITORS’ NOTES

For his Red Bow debut, Crickets, Joe Nichols updates his traditional country-rooted sound with radio-friendly numbers that celebrate the pleasures of cold beer, warm babes, and backwoods fun. Nichols’ easy yet commanding vocal style (complete with killer baritone moves) gives anything he sings a certain extra gravitas. His knack for simultaneously getting loose and keeping classy serves him well on “Hee Haw” and “Open Up a Can,” a pair of tunes that lean toward the cheerful rowdiness of Luke Bryant and Jake Owen. If there’s a streak of the ornery in these tracks, it’s more than balanced by Nichols’ sweeter, more poppy instincts, evident on romantically inviting fare like “Yeah” and “Baby You’re in Love with Me.” “Sunny and 75” is a simmering, slightly moody tune that captures the singer at his seductive best. When he digs deeply into a slower tune—as he does on the tender “Better Than Beautiful” and the reflective “Billy Graham’s Bible”—Nichols renews his credentials as one of country’s most appealing balladeers. A soulful cover of Merle Haggard’s “Footlights” adds a dash of authentic honky-tonk.

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