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Joe Nichols via the Internet – Courtesy of CMT
Fan Club Party review by Cheryl Harvey Hill, Sr. Staff Journalist

CMT broadcasted Joe Nichols' fan club party LIVE from Nashville this morning. I signed on a little late due to the time zone difference but, luckily for me, the party started a little late so I didn't miss much. I logged on to my computer in time to hear him sing “It Would Be Her,” one of my all-time favorite tunes, and I was pleased to hear him say it was also one of his favorites. I learned from other fans later that he had kicked off the party with a couple of his up tempo tunes, “Brokenheartsville” and the appropriately titled “Joe's Place.”

(For pictures of the event from CMT.com click here.)

Joe looked as handsome as ever and was clearly in casual mode as he effortlessly joked with the fans and took requests. I am certain a lot of folks, like me, were happy when someone requested “If Only I Could Fly.” He was accompanied by some incredible steel guitar playing on this song and everyone in his new band is really, really good.

Someone asked for “Everything's a Thing.” He said he wasn't sure his band knew that tune well enough to play it yet. And then he joked about writing the song. He said the fact that the entire song is written in one key is a dead give away that he probably had something to do with it. Laughing, he said, “Y'all know my guitar playing is legendary, everyone knows it consists of one chord.” At this point, everyone laughed because all of his fans DO know that.

Someone asked him about the Broadway show and he said there had been a change in plans and he would NOT be going to New York due to tour restrictions. The questions were varied; the fans asked him about everything from ticket prices to the length of his music sets. It was difficult to hear some of the questions but I don't think I missed much. When he was asked why hadn't he been inducted into the Opry yet, he just smiled, paused a minute, smiled again, and said he has the utmost respect for the Opry and he always considers it an honor to perform there.” When a fan shouts out that he isn't there often enough, he tells them to feel free to request that he be there more often and then smiles that same beautiful, show stopping, smile once more.

Another fan states that country music has changed so much and, in her opinion, not for the better. Judging by the nodding heads I could see, a lot of folks agree with her. She complains that much of what she is hearing on country radio does not sound anything like country. Her question to Joe is, “Are there any rules defining country music?”

Joe explains that the industry is driven, “out of necessity, by the bottom line, which is profit.” He says this is why the songs you hear on country radio are changing and suggests, what you hear on the radio now, are the many different genres merging. He reminds the fans that country music is a business and he is just one small facet of this multifaceted business. He said, “For me, personally, I love traditional music, so that is what I sing,” but he emphasizes again that the reality of the music business is that the fans voices are much louder than the individual artists voices and it is what the majority of country fans have to say that determines what you hear on radio. Having said all that, he reassures his fans by saying, “As long as you are here, I'll be here.”

Will you be coming to Australia?” one fan asks while another want to know if he will be coming to Ireland. His response is quick as he says, with pride, “I'm actually Irish!” Everyone laughs but his response is, “Seriously, my mother has red hair.” You know, I believe she does, but with Joe, you are never quite certain when he is pulling your leg. His pranks and wacky persona are as legendary as his guitar playing.

When someone asks if he might do the fashion show next year? His immediate response was, “Now a days, I find that things I didn't used to think were any fun at all, now, I think they are. Yes! I think it really would be fun to do the fashion show.”

Another fan congratulates Joe for being on the cover of Country Weekly and Billboard. He says he is grateful to Country Weekly for always being so supportive of his career and he was very pleased to represent country music on the cover of Billboard, “It was a real honor to be on their cover, and speaking of honors,” he says he is also excited to have Roper as one of his sponsors now. In his words, “It's a really big deal and I'm so proud to represent them.”

Someone asked what the next single, from the current album, would be and he said something like, he knew this would make his management crazy but, “Here goes! 'Shape I'm In'” he said with an impish grin. That news is cheered by many but I'm among the folks who were really hoping the next single would be a slow tune, preferably “This Bed's Too Big.” Man oh man, he really sings that song and I think he introduces a few octaves to his vocal range that we've never heard before, ya know what I mean? And it is such a feel good song, well, I'm just sayin' but I like “Shape I'm In” too, well, truth is, as our readers know, I'm not shy about saying I'm a real fan of Joe's and have been for more than a decade now so I like everything he does.

Next he sang “Old Things New,” which had been requested earlier. This is such a powerful song and he sings it with so much passion and I think this particular song probably best reflects his own philosophy about his life and his music. Next he sang “That Would Be Her,” and I'm pretty sure he dedicated this song to Heather, his beautiful wife, who was just off stage.

At this point Joe turned the table on his fans and asked what they thought of the CMT awards. I don't think anyone answered him and sometimes, silence speaks volumes. I, for one, would love it if they would at least let Joe be a presenter. For cryin' out loud, he did have a number one song, and video, this year, but then, if they hadn't broadcasted the fan club party over the Internet, I wouldn't have been able to see him at all during the CMA Fest so thank you CMT.

When a fan says he was very entertaining on the view, the audience breaks out in laughter. Joe responds by saying, 'that wasn't me, that was my evil twin.” The laughter was in reference to what he did before he left the doctors office (setting the TV to the garden channel). It appears that all of his fans were in on this joke.

At this point he introduced his road crew, all of the members of the band, his management team, thanked Sharon Eaves and her staff for doing such a great job with the fan club, and thanked his publicist. After a few more exchanges with audience members, he said, “Let me get serious for a moment and say thank you all, very, very much. I'm a big fan of y'all and thank you for sending this song to number one,” and as the band began playing “Gimmie That Girl,” he yelled out, “and helping it stay there for three weeks,” As that song ended he said, “Thank y'all and God bless ya for making that a big song” and then, without skipping a beat, he said, “I know it's the middle of the day but it is the CMA Fest and we're here to have fun,” as the band began playing “Tequila Makes her Clothes Fall Off,” everyone sprang to their feet and stayed there, hands clapping, singing along as Joe changed the lyrics to reflect his wacky sense of humor and he definitely had a good time with this song.”

As the song wound down he thanked everyone again, including all of the online viewers for “hanging out with me and the We Ain't No Damn Band, Randy, band.”

I said it earlier but let me say it again, “Thank you CMT for inviting us to 'hang' with Joe Nichols during the 2010 CMA Fest. It was a blast!”


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