|Recording information: Curb Studios, Nashville, TN; House Of Nadia, Nashville, TN; Ocean Way Nashville, Nashille, TN; Playground Recording, Nashville, TN; Starstruck Studios, Nashville, TN; Studio 44, Nashville, TN; The Sound Kitchen, Franklin, TN; Tracking Room, Nashville, TN.
|Turning old things into something new is a key part of the job description of a country singer like Joe Nichols, and he does a slick job of it on OLD THINGS NEW, his fifth major-label album. Nichols has a fondness for all things classic country -- songs both sad and funny about drinking, songs about love won and lost, songs about small-town girls and home towns, all fueled by sawing fiddles, steel guitars, and twanging Telecasters. There's a big difference between a traditionalist and someone who follows tradition, and Nichols belongs in the latter camp, less concerned with the past than the present, admitting that booze is cheaper than a shrink, happily sliding into power-ballad mode on the slower songs. Those rock influences -- not just on bombastic ballads, but on the sweet, swaying soft rock of "Man, Woman" -- are more prominent here than before, but the music is always grounded in Nichols' warm, supple voice, the thing that keeps OLD THINGS NEW in a country tradition even when the production strays off course.