July 21, 2010 at 11:14 am , by Ron Kelly
He may have scored big with the success of his chart-topping country single “Gimmie That Girl,” but Joe Nichols certainly knows what we here at Ladies’ Home Journal have been touting on our cover for years: “Never underestimate the power of a woman.”
“Absolutely! I agree with that motto because I’ve seen it first-hand,” Nichols told me when we met during this year’s CMA Music Festival down in Nashville. The deep-voiced singer was gearing up to perform at his official fan club party at the Country Music Hall of Fame when he revealed that the most powerful lady in his eyes is his wife, Heather Singleton. “She’s a very strong woman. She’s tough as nails,” says the Arkansas-born singer, who’s been open about his past substance abuse treatment and Heather’s role in helping him to face his demons. “I’ve seen her take a very impossible situation—me—and work with it. She’s actually tough enough to look me in the face and say, ‘No, you’re not going to get away with that.’ So intestinal fortitude—she’s got a lot of it. And I think a lot of my success, especially my latter success, is because of her.”
If that’s true, Heather just might be Nichols’ lucky charm. “Gimmie That Girl,” off his Old Things New CD, dominated the top position on country radio earlier this year for three consecutive weeks, helping to land him guest appearances on The Tonight Show and The View. And Nichols’ gut tells him that his new brand new single, “The Shape I’m In,” is ready to climb the charts as well. “It feels like a good song,” he says. “I listen to it and think, I would buy a record because of this song. The lyric is a very likable lyric that doesn’t offend anybody. It’s about a guy that comes out of a breakup and says, you know, I’m hanging in there, I’m doing alright and getting better.” It doesn’t hurt that the single is written by the same team—Rhett Atkins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip—that penned its chart-topping predecessor. “The combination is there again for more success,” says Nichols. “Hopefully the fans react the same way.”
Have you heard “The Shape I’m In” yet? Think it’ll be as big as “Gimmie That Girl”? Either way, read on after the jump to find out Nichols’ takes on LHJ’s Can This Marriage Be Saved? column, fellow country artist David Nail’s baseball skills, his fertility-treatment hijinks and his message to anyone that couldn’t make it down to see him at CMA’s Music Festival.