Real Things

Real Things

5.0 2
by Joe Nichols
     
 

Joe Nichols is a great singer and a nice guy. So on his terrific new album, Real Things, he's not altogether believable singing about "when I was stoned out of my mind" on "My Whiskey Years," and his demure delivery hints that he doesn't believe it, either. But when he sings about matters seemingly closest to his own experience -- the burnished memories ofSee more details below

Overview

Joe Nichols is a great singer and a nice guy. So on his terrific new album, Real Things, he's not altogether believable singing about "when I was stoned out of my mind" on "My Whiskey Years," and his demure delivery hints that he doesn't believe it, either. But when he sings about matters seemingly closest to his own experience -- the burnished memories of family, friends, and seasonal passages recounted in the title song, a good woman's enduring love trumping a fling in the velvety "She's All Lady" -- Nichols is positively mesmerizing. There's no artifice in his wrenching account of a man left alone with his memories in the surging reminiscence "The Difference Is Night and Day," or in the heart-tugging yearning he chronicles in the honky-tonk tear-jerker "If I Could Only Fly." That latter cut is practically an homage to the duets of Merle Haggard and Bonnie Owens, with Lee Ann Womack in the Owens role, knocking her parts clean out of the park. The close-to-the-bone feeling Nichols conjures when he digs into a sensitive lyric is a mark of country's finest vocalists and writers since back in the day. Meshing tradition and contemporary style into a classic and timeless sound, Joe Nichols sets an imposing standard with Real Things -- both for himself and for country music as it is defined today.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Joe Nichols finally had a big hit with his 2005 album III, released nearly a decade after his first independent records. III found Nichols loosening up a bit, delivering the very funny "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" which was also a strong song outside its quips, strong enough to become a genuine pop Top 40 hit after it topped the country charts. Such success can be hard to follow, and for his 2007 follow-up Real Things, Nichols does beat a bit of retreat, deciding not to expand upon that slyly rowdy hit but instead returning to the ballads that served him well for his first two records. He still kicks up the tempo on occasion -- most notably on "Let's Get Drunk and Fight," a sequel to "Tequila" that's nearly as laugh-out-loud funny, but also on the speedy "Comin' Back in a Cadillac," a tune that's more traditionally country-rockin' yet also on the anthemic "It Ain't No Crime" -- but by and large Real Things is a gentler affair, reminiscent of his second album, Revelation. However, there is a difference here: that record often seemed to cruise by on Music City gloss where Real Things digs deep, sounding deeply felt no matter how smooth it gets. Or no matter how sappy it gets, either, since there are several songs that flirt with being just a bit too emotional, whether it's the nostalgia of the title track or the autobiography of "Ain't Nobody Gonna Take That from Me." What saves these songs is the warmth of the production and, above all, the richness of Nichols' singing. He can find the truth in a cliché and is compelling even in the quietest moments, of which there are many here. Real Things is an album designed for contemplation or relaxation, and it works as both, sliding into the background or rewarding close listening. Some may wish that Nichols partied a little harder in the wake of "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off," but even those naysayers will likely find this to be his most consistent album to date -- and those who prefer his smooth, comforting voice to his taste in traditional country may indeed find this to be his best album as well.
New York Times - Kelefa Sanneh
...Mr. Nichols is something of an anomaly. He prefers small gestures to big ones, and Real Things is full of elegant, understated songs full of charming details.
Entertainment Weekly - Alanna Nash
...it's soulful ballads like "My Whiskey Years" that best showcase his rich baritone -- a sinewy blend of Merle Haggard/Randy Travis vulnerability... [A-]

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/21/2007
Label:
Universal South
UPC:
0602517324930
catalogNumber:
000888802
Rank:
80589

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joe Nichols   Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Eric Darken   Percussion
J.T. Corenflos   Electric Guitar
Shannon Forrest   Percussion,Drums
Paul Franklin   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
Jim Hoke   Horn
John Hughey   Pedal Steel Guitar
David Hungate   Bass,Bass Guitar,Upright Bass
Mac McAnally   Acoustic Guitar,Guitar (Resonator)
Gordon Mote   Piano,Hammond Organ,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
Brent Rowan   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar,Harmonium,Sitar,Mellotron,Slide Guitar,6-string bass,Wurlitzer,Hi String,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Aubrey Haynie   Fiddle,Mandolin
Lee Ann Womack   Background Vocals
Craig Young   Bass,Bass Guitar
Bryan Sutton   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Mandocello
Wes Hightower   Background Vocals
Perry Coleman   Background Vocals
Morgane Hayes   Background Vocals
Universal Records South Family Singers   Background Vocals
Byran Sutton   Mandocello

Technical Credits

Billy Dean   Composer
Blaze Foley   Composer
Walt Aldridge   Composer
Dean Dillon   Composer
Greg Droman   Engineer
Ben Fowler   Engineer
Brent Rowan   Producer,Engineer,Horn Arrangements,Tic Tac,Audio Production
John Scott Sherrill   Composer
Craig White   Engineer
Mark Wright   Producer,Audio Production
Tom Hambridge   Composer
Tom Shapiro   Composer
Joe Nichols   Composer
Jeffrey Steele   Composer
Karen Cronin   Art Direction
Carson Chamberlain   Composer
Mark Nesler   Composer
Earl Bud Lee   Composer
Chris Lindsey   Composer
Aimee Mayo   Composer
Rivers Rutherford   Composer
Annie Tate   Composer
Sam Tate   Composer
Scotty Emerick   Composer
Clint Daniels   Composer
Aaron Lines   Composer
Rob McNelley   Composer
Troy Verges   Composer
Jamey Johnson   Composer
Lynn Hutton   Composer
John Paul White   Composer
Hank Williams   Mastering

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