Previously announcing Joe Nichols’ “It’s All Good” album, I made mention of the fact that if you’ve only gotten to know Joe by radio, then you don’t know Joe. But even “I” was unaware of the truth behind that statement. Even if you “think” you know Joe Nichols, think again because “It’s All Good” is a shot of Joe with a strong twist of romance, playfulness, a little depth and not to sound corny but … it’s not too heavy, it’s not too sweet, it’s … all good !
Great music comes from several sources. Joe Nichols has certainly found his muse. Many online colleges have music classes to help you discover your muse. Let’s take a look at where Joe’s been.
Looking Back …
There’s no denying Joe’s past recording decade is a reflection of real life, living, hardship, heartache and bliss. From Joe’s debut onto the country scene, through the loss of his father, his own personal struggles and personal and professional bliss, Joe’s songwriting, recordings and performance document an astonishing man, an astonishing artist and an astonishing catalog of music.
And Nichols wrapped up that decade of stellar songwriting, performing and industry accolades with his “Greatest Hits” album. And like any Greatest Hits, it did indeed track all the high singles of Joe’s musical journey. But like any Greatest Hits, it only contains that which most listeners already know about an artist, that which has been aired on radio, that which was released as singles. But there’s always so much more to an artist than the singles, the radio plays and the “Greatest Hits” compilation. And like any other artist that has put in the time, the sweat and the honor of working up to a Greatest Hits, there’s also so much more to Joe Nichols.
When I look back at his previous five studio albums, I’m reminded of the captivation in this man’s lyric, vocals and sincere country twang. I can return to his debut and sophomore albums at any time and fall completely in love with Joe’s talent all over again. Some of it’s dark and heavy. Some of it’s light and playful. All of it’s absolutely brilliant.
An Entry into The Future …
But with the release of “It’s All Good”, the first album marking the entry into the next decade of country authenticity, Joe Nichols seems more relaxed, more playful and a whole lot of romantic.
What’s Joe got to say about it?
“It’s All Good as a title has got a deeply personal meaning to me,” he says. “I’ve been through the ups and downs of life and I’m better at knowing what to hold onto. There was a lot of pain and suffering on my earlier albums. Sometimes it was in balance and sometimes there was an unhealthy amount. This one has a lot of love on it. It’s got more of a fun and uplifting feel than any record in the past.”
Well, that’s an understatement. “It’s All Good” is quite aptly titled as it is truly an uplifting, it’s-all-good feeling all around.
Nichols’ first release and current single “Take It Off”, not only opens the album but also introduces the lightheartedness of this project. Not that we haven’t seen Joe in a playful mood before (Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off) but it’s a breezy reminder to just take off whatever’s weighing you down.
Bliss Continues …
“The More I Look” is a follow-up of playful fun and romance that takes the singer from barroom enchantment to moonlight enchantment. And Joe’s got you following along the whole way with toe-tapping lyrics like “I was just plannin’ on comin’ in here for one beer. Maybe shoot a little pool, shoot the bull and get outta here” to hitting “the blue hole a couple miles outta town”.
“Somebody’s Mama” switches gears as Joe drops it down in mood and sentiment. With its curious and intimate conversational “tell me who was this angel that you had me cover up”, this tender heartfelt attempt at covering up physically and emotionally the reminder of a lost love will touch your heart and soul.
The album’s title cut “It’s All Good” is a vocal, lyrical and inspirational hug. Seriously. One of the album’s stronger uplifters, Joe wraps his country twang around this simple story to remind you, it’s your perception that has you feeling the way you do. And closes the song and the message with “If I’ve learned one thing from the year I’ve had/It’s even if it all goes bad/It’s all good”. As is the foot-stomping, happy-go-lucky “This Ole Boy”.
Things Start to Change …
Still blissfully romantic, Nichols lays down his first ballad on “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. The song is so lyrically visual and tender you’re unconsciously hypnotized by the very sentiment the singer honors … Love – or the intoxication of it. This one gives you the shivers …
But even when Joe decides life’s hit ’em hard in “No Truck, No Boat, No Girl”, he still does so with an oh well kinda sentiment. You feel bad for the guy in this song. But the whole album is just so delightfully uplifting that even this guy’s hard luck can’t keep you down.
By the time you reach “Never Gonna Get Enough” if you’re not in love or in a relationship, you’ll definitely be wondering why you’ve opted outta all this romantic fun. And if you still need a little convincing that love’s the place to be, “She’s Just Like That” will do just that. You’re immediately captivated by the musical composition and instrumental crispness. But by the time this ballad bows out, you’re captivated by love and its simplicity.
In The End …
The album ends with a bit of a heavier sentiment than it began in “How I Wanna Go”. But as the album winds up 10 tracks of romance and happiness, this song is a moment of inner reflection that when the final curtain falls on this guy’s life, still blissfully in love with life and romance, he confesses “Ridin’ the tide with you right by my side sittin’ close” is “How I Wanna Go”.
At times, it seemed a bit empty not having any of Joe’s “heavy” hitters tearing you up. But all told, “It’s All Good” is an uplifting compliation that has you just plain feeling good to be alive and reminds you life can be joyous and fun. It’s a definite pick-you-upper and a definite must have on your playlist and in your life. Not everything has to drag you down. And Joe Nichols certainly does a fine job here of keeping your spirit soaring. Be sure to add “It’s All Good” and Joe Nichols to your musical mantra.