From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Joe Nichols “Greatest Hits” (Show Dog-Universal Music)
Nearly a decade has passed since Joe Nichols made his major-label debut, which in music-industry terms means the country singer is due for his first hits compilation.
Unfortunately, “Greatest Hits” doesn’t do justice by the talented neotraditionalist. With his rich baritone, the Arkansas native has proven equally adroit at rattling off a cleverly worded ditty, belting out an inspirational anthem and crooning a heartfelt love song.
But the collection includes only 10 tracks and clocks in at about half an hour. Beautiful ballads “If Nobody Believed in You,” “She Only Smokes When She Drinks” and “Another Side of You” are inexplicably absent, even though all broke the top 20 and the first made the top 10. His strong skills as a balladeer are seemingly given short shrift in favor of spotlighting the catchy turns of phrase in “Size Matters,” “Cool to Be a Fool” and “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.”
The album offers no previously unreleased material or new songs to entice Nichols’ devoted followers, and it doesn’t make much of a case for casual fans to become diehards. Instead, the warm afterglow of his 2009 album “Old Things New” seems dimmer amid the glaring shortcomings this cash-grabbing compilation.