Rogers native Joe Nichols doesn't have too many opportunities these days to perform in his home state, but this weekend is an exception, thanks to a headlining gig Saturday at Magic Springs' Timberwood Amphitheater in Hot Springs.
"It's been a while since I played in central Arkansas," he says. "I did something for a radio station about two years ago, but I don't know when I was last in Hot Springs. Those outdoor shows are a lot of fun. I'm hoping to play at that new place in my hometown, the Arkansas Music Pavilion, it's called."
Opener: Blane Howard
7 p.m. Saturday, Magic Springs & Crystal Falls Water and Theme Park, 1701 E. Grand Ave. (U.S. 70 East), Hot Springs
Admission: $59.99 day of concert; children 3 and younger admitted free and children shorter than 48 inches admitted for $36.99, as are adults age 55 and older. (Season passes are $69.99.) Lawn seating included in price of admission, with limited reserved seating available for additional $10 or $8. Parking at extra cost.
Nichols, 38, doesn't live in Rogers anymore, but home isn't where one might expect, either. Tyler, Texas, not Nashville, Tenn., is home for Nichols -- due to family . "My wife is from this area, and since I'm on the road a lot of the time, I wanted our kids to have a good area to grow up in, with lots of relatives in the mix."
Though he is gone from Northwest Arkansas, Nichols still honors his connections to the area.
"I have a lot of kinfolk still there, from my mother and sister and a lot of cousins and aunts," he says. "Plus I have an aunt and uncle in Hot Springs. My Uncle Wylie was one of my biggest influences. He turned me on to Merle [Haggard], George Strait, Randy Travis and Hank Jr., plus Keith Whitley."
Nichols got his start working as a DJ. "I was the weekend guy for Beaver 105, a country station in Springdale. That was a real education for someone interested in country music as a career, for sure. That was a lot more fun than one of my short- lived jobs when I got to Nashville to break into the singing part of my career. I even tried selling steaks door-to-door and I lasted one day at that.
"The Lord called me right out of doing that!"
He has released eight studio albums, beginning with his self-titled debut in 1996, followed by Man With a Memory in 2002, Revelation and A Traditional Christmas in 2004, III in 2005, Real Things in 2007, Old Things New in 2009 and Crickets in 2013.
He has had 14 Top 40 singles, among them five No. 1 singles: "Brokenheartsville" in 2003, "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" in 2005, "Gimme That Girl" in 2010, "Sunny and 75" in 2013 and "Yeah" in 2014.
Weekend on 06/04/2015