Joe Nichols

Down in Nashville, on the north side of Broadway at Fifth, is a spot where fate has wrought a symbolic convergence in the career of country artist Joe Nichols. "If you stand there and look out across Broadway," Nichols explains, "you'll see where Brian and I started with an acoustic thing at a place called Rippy's." He's referring to a ribs and beer joint he played with best friend and current guitar player Brian Spradlin as recently as March of 2002. "On the opposite corner is the Gaylord Entertainment Center," where Nichols opened for Alan Jackson in November of that same year. "Behind you, over the top of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, you can see the Ryman Auditorium," the setting for Nichols' first Grand Ole Opry performance, barely a month later. "And if you look down Broadway, you can see the Nashville Coliseum," home to the NFL's Tennessee Titans and country music's Fan Fair festival, at which Nichols performed in the summer of 2003.

In less than 18 months Joe Nichols went from playing for dozens of people on the cramped stage of a local eatery to performing for tens of thousands in a massive outdoor stadium. Amidst this notable ascension Nichols became the debut artist for a new record label, Universal South. His first two singles, "The Impossible" and "Brokenheartsville," became multi-week No. 1 hits. And his album, Man With A Memory, was certified Gold for sales in excess of 500,000 units. The journey is even more remarkable for its twice-over defiance of convention. First, Nichols has built this success upon an unfettered allegiance to country tradition that's as direct as his chiseled baritone. Secondly, he's done it despite the frighteningly long odds new country artists have faced for the last half-dozen years.

"It's been a constant rise from single to single," Nichols says. "The ride hasn't slowed down a bit." Yet he's mindful that his accomplishments are not an end unto themselves, but the means to get where he's going. Despite the comparisons already being drawn, he is still but an aspirant to the lineage of his heroes--men with names like Jones, Haggard, Robbins, Travis and Jackson. In short, Joe Nichols isn't caught up in his own success. He may be the only one.

The Academy of Country Music named Nichols its Top New Male Vocalist of 2003. Country Music Television named "Brokenheartsville" the year's Breakthrough Video. He was voted Best New Artist of 2003 by the readers of Radio & Records. Billboard Magazine tapped him as Top New Country Artist of 2002, with "The Impossible" certified as the No. 10 most played song of the year. Music Row magazine bestowed upon him its prestigious Critics' Pick award, and he was nominated for three Grammy Awards--Best Country Album, Best Country Male Vocal Performance and Best Country Song, for "The Impossible."


The Early Years (2005)




Aspirion Records Named Small Label of the Year - 2007