Pickin' On

Pickin' on Joe Nichols [2004]

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It's probably inevitable: If an artist wins a major award or has a hit, CMH will eventually be picking on them. Pickin' on Joe Nichols, then, is pretty much what listeners have come to expect from the series. The songs, except for the closer, are pulled from Nichols' repertoire and given lively instrumental interpretations. In this particular case, multi-instrumentalist Tim Crouch, dobroist Randy Kohrs, banjoist Scott Vestal, and bassist Dennis Crouch do the honors. As one might guess, with fiddles, mandolins, banjos, and dobros, the album sounds more country than Nichols' own versions of these songs. Having said that, Pickin' on Joe Nichols veers closer to easy listening roots music than, say, traditional country or bluegrass. This is the type of music that works well in the background, like the Muzak that used to play in supermarkets. The album, at 35 minutes, is short, but it does have one original composition, "Arkansas Travelin' Man." Many may also enjoy hearing new versions of favorites like "The Impossible," "She Only Smokes When She Drinks," and "Walmart Parking Lot Social Club." Pickin' on Joe Nichols may not qualify as part of the musical vanguard, but the music is competently done and should please Nichols' fans.

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