“As a genre, we’ve forgotten who loves our music, and for the most part that’s middle America, just regular people,” Joe Nicols told the Phoenix New Times on Tuesday ahead of an appearance at the Country Thunder festival in Arizona. “I think in an effort to be cool, the fashionable thing, the hip thing, we’ve kind of forgotten that that’s our bread and butter. We’re country music; we represent the common man and woman.”
Joe’s comments come as similar sentiments have been offered up by other artists, but Joe also communicates the concern about where country music could be headed now that Bro-Country is getting close to the end of its life cycle. Since Bro-Country pushed away many of country music’s core constituents, and now Bro-Country isn’t even around to help fill the gap, it has caused country to enter a period of contraction that could put some of the industry on shaky footing.
“To me, [country music] gotten a little fickle,” Joe continues. “The music has gotten a little bit redundant at times, which I can’t really complain about because I try not to do what everybody else is doing and try to stick somewhat close to traditional country music because that’s the kind of artist I am, so I can’t really complain that much. There’s hills and valleys in all genres and I think we’ve kind of brought this on ourselves with not knowing what’s going to happen next year, what’s going to be popular… I think it needs to sound like a country song from a country singer, believable as a country song. If it can fit in other genres 100 percent of the time, then you should probably look at what that really is.”
Niochols has spent much of his career as a traditional artist, but has flirted with more commercial material upon occasion, including last year’s “Sunny & 75” that became a #1 hit on radio. Though it doesn’t evidence the worst of what country radio has to offer in any capacity, Nichols admits the song was “one of the hardest things I’ve had to sing and definitely out of my comfort zone.”