It’s always “Sunny and 75” at Joe Nichols’ house.
The country singer’s recent hit is a favorite of his youngest daughter, who often breaks into the “sunny and 75” chorus around the house.
Nichols’ newest single is “Undone.”
“It’s doing good. I think the initial response from everyone is good,” Nichols said in a recent phone interview from Columbus, Ohio, where he was later scheduled to do a show. “And radio likes it. I don’t think I can ask for anymore than that.”
The four-time Grammy Award nominee will be in concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, at The Event Center at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, in Charles Town, West Virginia. Because it’s in the casino, you have to be 21 or older to attend. Tickets are $35 to $60.
Nichols has that smooth baritone, with a country twang, voice that regularly earns him praise as one of the genre’s traditional country artists. He was named top new male vocalist in 2003 by the Academy of Country Music. He has had eight Top-10 singles and six #1 hits, including “Brokenheartsville,” “Yeah,” “Gimme That Girl,” “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” and “Sunny and 75.”
A new album, on Red Bow Records, has been in the works for about two years. “I think we have maybe two vocals left to do, then we’ll wrap it up,” he said. A release date has not been set, but “we’ll see what the pace (up the charts) is of ‘Undone’,” he said, but hopeful later this year.
“It’s that sexy kind of radio song,” he said, and was written by Trevor Rosen (Old Dominion), Josh Osborne and Ross Copperman. It’s a sizzler.
“We All Carry Something,” one of the tracks on the upcoming album, is perhaps the most meaningful song to him. “Everyone has ‘baggage’ they carry throughout their lives, but it’s that baggage, those journeys that makes you who you are. I certainly have been through a lot of journeys,” he said with a laugh. The song carries “a big powerful message that we’re here to help each other.”
He didn’t write that song, but he still does some songwriting, only “not as much as I did 10 years ago,” Nichols said.
He moved to Nashville in 1997 after recording his first independent album. In between that and his first No. 1 hit, “Brokenheartsville,” Nichols worked odd jobs. “I was a cable guy,” he said, “worked for UPS and a lot odd stuff. I didn’t enjoy it that much but it gave me a living.”
Keeping true to the traditional sound of country music and yet staying it relevant to the diversity in country music today is something Nichols struggles with.
“I think good music finds its way to the public,” and it doesn’t matter if it’s through a record label, radio a TV show or social media. The most important thing is the music.”
When it comes to selecting songs to sing and record, Nichols said he isn’t concerned about what his kids will think of the song.
“My music is MY music,” he explained. “It’s a representation of me. I filter the music through my mind.” They’re probably going to hear songs that are more suggestive than any song he would record, he said.
As the father of three girls — ages 18, 4 and 2, Nichols said he’s terrified most days. “I have to make sure they’re happy, healthy and enjoying life. At the same time I know the world is a dark place and there are a lot of dark, crazy people in the world, and I need to protect them from that,” he said.
“I’m that big gorilla dad that overprotects,” he said with a laugh.
Each of his girls has a flair for performance, he said. Their home includes a stage where the kids put on shows for family.
Nichols said at the Charles Town show, he will play some new music and his top hits are still in the show.
For tickets or more information on the concert, visit www.hollywoodcasinocharlestown.com.
Look for this story in the Aug. 4 edition of 72Hours, inside The Frederick News-Post.