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Joe Nichols - Revelation
Album Review by Cheryl Harvey Hill

Revelation may well be, in part, a class A tribute to a few of the country music icons who Joe Nichols has often acknowledged as his inspiration. Covering Gene Watson's memorable 1979 hit, "Farewell Party" and the inclusion of the title cut, "Revelation," previously recorded by the immortal Waylon Jennings, may also be indicative of Nichols' confidence level -- obviously high -- and rightfully so. After all, the dictionary defines revelation as a surprise, eye-opener, breakthrough and/or shock. "Man With A Memory," Nichols debut album for Universal South, was probably the biggest revelation in Nashville in a decade.

As the various music networks and industry powers had merged over the years, so had the music. By the time Nichols arrived in Nashville, it was getting more and more difficult to tell CMT from MTV. But once he started to sing, even sans the cowboy hat and jeans, looking more like a GQ model than a country singer, there was no doubt which genre owned his heart and soul. His superb baritone voice, down-to-earth personality, and effortless delivery of pure unadulterated country music was like a big ole group bear hug from Merle, Waylon, Whitley, and Watson, and equally as invigorating.

No one seems immune to all that talent and charm. The Academy of Country Music, The Country Music Association and the Grammy Awards all nominated Nichols in a variety of categories. The accolades came in a steady stream and so did the top ten hits, including "Brokensheartsville," which went all the way to number one and garnered the, fan voted, Flame Worthy award for "Breakthrough Video of the Year." Hmmm. Breakthrough ... also a synonym for revelation. I think I'm starting to see a trend here.

So how does Revelation compare? Well, despite the fact that there are several insightful, thought-provoking ballads on this album, there is also the up-lifting and up-tempo, "The Shade, the tongue-in-cheek toe-tapper, "Don't Ruin It For The Rest Of Us," and the delightful boot-scootin', "What's A Guy Gotta Do." Overall, the emotional scales are in pretty fair balance.

If you are wondering if Nichols deserved all the rave reviews he has received to date, the answer to that question can be found in his voice on every song on this album, for indisputable proof, just give a listen to the final stanza of "Farewell Party," Nichols nails it. Yep, just like a big ole bear hug and Merle, Waylon, Whitley and Watson are smiling for sure.

Rating: BUY IT!

Joe Nichols - Revelation  track list: 

1. Shade 
2. Singer in a Band 
3. Don't Ruin It for the Rest of Us 
4. I Wish That Wasn't All 
5. If I Ever Get Her Back 
6. If Nobody Believed in You 
7. Farewell Party 
8. Things Like That (These Days) 
9. Revelation 
10. What's a Guy Gotta Do 
11. No Time to Cry 



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