Joe Nichols has one of the richest voices to be found among the new country traditionalists, as his new single “Believers” (listen)reminds us. It also reminds us, thematically, of his breakout single “The Impossible.” Nichols returns to the subject of faith with three vignettes: voters with unwavering faith in change lining up outside the courthouse, a couple taking a leap of faith at the wedding altar, and a mother who always believed her son would see the light finding redemption near the end of her life. Nichols says, “It’s also about believing in something bigger than what’s right in front of you. There have been a lot of times in my life, both recently and in the past, that I’ve needed a lot of belief just to move me forward. This song gives me that.”
Indeed, Joe’s professional and personal lives have veered a bit off the rails in the last couple of years, and the cynic in me can’t help but wonder whether “Believers” is a contrived attempt to recapture what made “The Impossible” and hit and Joe Nichols a star. From the three story lines to the second verse piano fills, it all seems a little formulaic. Or is it simply vintage Nashville? Is Joe returning to his roots or regressing as an artist? The believer in me hopes it's the former, but the inner cynic isn't quite convinced.