Off the Record Live: Joe Nichols Keeps it Country on New Album ‘Good Day For Living’

“There’s a lot of fun on this record, it sounds country to me,” Joe Nichols says on a recent episode of American Songwriter’s Twitch show, Off The Record Live, discussing his new album, Good Day For Living, out today (February 11). “We got some powerful stuff, we got some good messages in there. And I think Good Day for Living, to me, is—man, it’s about time for some positivity. I mean couldn’t we all just use a little bit of good.”

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The 13-song collection, Nichols’ first new music in four years, and inaugural project with a new label holds true to his traditional country sound that we’ve come to love. Vocally, Nichols shines as he sings through the light-hearted take on a serious subject, “Hawaii on Me,” “She Was,” the title track, and the lead single “Home Run.”

“We all need to hit a home run right now,” Nichols shares why he chose “Home Run” for the lead single. “The world is just—it’s like there’s this fog that everybody is just now kind of trying to see out of. The message of the song is life has just gone nuts, everything’s happened crazy. I don’t know whether to take the good with the bad, I don’t know what’s happened so what I need to do is go back and catch home base. My home base is my home and my kids, my family, my mother, and the people and places I grew up around at my home. That’s what I need right now. I really need to touch base with home and so I thought the message was good for now. We all need a little bit of sanity.”

Another standout track on the album is the collaboration between Nichols and his old pal Blake Shelton, called “I Got Friends That Do.”

“We’ve known each other for 22 or 23 years, and over the years, we kind of played tag on that,” Nichols shares about the collaboration. “He’ll have an album he’s working on and I’m having something that I’ve already done and we’re just putting it out to radio, so being a part of something, a duet, kind of always felt like it’s off, our timing has been off. We always wanted to do something, it made total sense, we’ve known each other a long time. We know how big of idiots we are to each other. So I got this song called ‘I Got Friends That Do,’ and I’m like, ‘Man that feels like a hit.’ I went in and cut it. It was mine and it felt like a single immediately and I’m like, ‘Man, let me call Blake and just see what he says.’ Like, ‘Hey, listen to this song and if you like it, it’s already done but if you like it you can throw a vocal in here and we’ll make this a duet. But no pressure, whatever you want to do.’ And he wrote me back and he’s like, ‘Absolutely love it, let’s do it.’

And the rest is history.

All in all, Good Day For Living has “a little bit of a lot of stuff,” from the steel guitar on “One Two Step Closer” and a lot of country dancing—a throwback to 90s stuff—to those sit and chill moments on “Hawaii On Me” and some subtle digs in “Brokenhearted.”

“For the first time in a long time, I don’t feel any pressure,” Nichols says. “I’m around great people. I’m the type of person who’s always striving for more, but I’ve reached a place where I’m grateful for everything I’ve accomplished so far. It’s been such a good run. I feel at peace, and that has freed me up to make new music that’s very honest.”

Sitting down with American Songwriter, Nichols offers a peek into his creative process, discussing how he got his start in music (hint: it began in beer joints at age 8), reuniting with producer Mickey Jack Cones, and keeping his music traditional.

Learn more about Nichols’ latest album, A Good Day For Living, by watching the full interview and performances below:

Good Day For Living – Tracklist
1. “Brokenhearted” (Rhett Akins, Marv Green, John Thomas Harding)
2. “I Got Friends That Do” (feat. Blake Shelton) (Danick Dupelle, Tebey Ottoh, Jimmy Thow)
3. “Home Run”* (Ashley Gorley, Dallas Davidson, Ross Copperman)
4. “Dance With the Girl” (Jason Gantt, John Pierce, Emily Shackelton)
5. “I Wanna Be Your Tonight” (Philip O’Donnell, Wade Kirby, Marv Green)
6. “Good Day For Living” (Dave Cohen, Bobby Hambrick, Neil Mason)
7. “Screened In” (Neil Thrasher, Anthony Jerome Martin)
8. “That’s How I Grew Up” (Steven McMorran, Josh London, Adam Craig)
9. “Reckon” (Derek George, Randy Montana, Jeremy Stover)
10. “Why Can’t She” (Adam Craig, Jon Nite, Matt Rogers)
11. “One Two Step Closer”* (Justin Lantz, Clint Daniels, Lance Miller)
12. “Hawaii on Me”^ (Chris Janson, Will Nance, Kelly Roland)
13. “She Was” (Neal Lee Coty, Jimmy Edward Melton)

Good Day For Living 2022 Tour
2/12 – Dixie National Livestock & Rodeo Show – Jackson, MS
2/24 – Mazatzal Hotel & Casino – Payson, AZ
3/4 – Apache Casino Hotel – Lawton, OK
3/5 – Silver Saloon – Terrell, TX
3/19 – West Plains Civic Center – West Plains, MO 
3/24 – The Windjammer – Isle of Palms, SC
3/25 – Cedartown Performing Arts Center – Cedartown, GA
3/26 – Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo – Opp, AL
4/2 – The Whiskey Baron Dance Hall & Saloon – Colorado Springs, CO
4/3 – The Dirty Bourbon – Albuquerque, NM
4/14 – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Tulsa, OK
4/15 – Cherokee Casino – Roland, OK 
4/21 – SEVEN Bar – West Siloam Springs, OK
4/22 – Country River Club – Tyler, TX
4/23 – The Backyard Amphitheatre – Fredericksburg, TX
5/28 – Brat Fest – Madison, WI
5/29 – Wildhogs Saloon – Walford, IA.
7/1 –  Freedom Rally  – Algona, IA
7/2 – Rich Hill’s 4th of July Celebration – Rich Hill, MO
7/8 – Huntley Homesteader Days 2022 – Huntley, MT
7/9 – The Newberry – Great Falls, MT
7/13 – Farm Tech Fest 2022 – Loyal, WI
7/14 – Knox County Fair – Galesburg, IL
8/26 – Lake Fanny Hoe-Down – Copper Harbor, MI
8/27 – Country In The Burg Festival – Cedarburg, WI
9/24 – Hazzardfest 2022 – Greeneville, TN

Photo by David Doc Abbott

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