Joe Nichols – Never Gets Old (2017) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Joe Nichols – Never Gets Old (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 40:09 minutes | 470 MB | Genre: Country
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Red Bow Records

Multi-platinum recording artist Joe Nichols is one of country music’s most praised traditional country artists. “Never Gets Old” is his newest album, his first new release in four years.

The headline-grabbing gimmick on Never Gets Old, Joe Nichols’ eighth studio album, is a countrified cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 1992 booty classic “Baby Got Back.” The fact that Nichols brings in country comedian Darren Knight to perform a riff as his Southern Momma character is a giveaway that Nichols doesn’t take this track too seriously — and the fact that he can’t be bothered to find a way to get this to work beyond eight lines from the original is a telltale sign that he didn’t work too hard on it — but it nevertheless captures his considerable charm and skill. From the outset, Nichols distinguished himself by balancing traditional country with modern concerns, a sensibility that’s mellowed into the easy touch he shows on Never Gets Old. In tone and sound, the 2017 record is a sequel to 2013’s Crickets — it even contains a new version of that album’s “Billy Graham’s Bible” — but that only signals how Nichols is beginning to settle into a relaxed middle age. He’s not one to rush the tempo — when things get quicker, as they do on the jangling “So You’re Saying” and a version of Dierks Bentley’s “Diamonds Make Babies,” he just brings it toward adult-oriented crossover pop — but he’s also too young to rely only on old ways. Sometimes this manifests in a track with a distinctively modern bent, like “Tall Boys,” which is fueled by a rhythmic R&B loop, but it usually amounts to Nichols sounding nimble and connected. Few country singers would sound as believable singing about Tom Petty and Appletinis as Nichols does here. He’s an old-fashioned guy who is happy living in the modern world, and that’s why Never Gets Old is so appealing: It feels familiar yet fresh. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

01 – Diamonds Make Babies
02 – Girl In The Song
03 – We All Carry Something
04 – I’d Sing About You
05 – Breathless
06 – Tall Boys
07 – Hostage
08 – Never Gets Old
09 – Billy Graham’s Bible
10 – So You’re Saying
11 – This Side Of The River
12 – Baby Got Back