Country music singer Joe Nichols – whose latest single, “Yeah,” hit number one on the U.S. Country Airplay chart last month and just became his fourth gold single – knows the value of not giving up.
At the age of 19, Nichols was signed to Intersound Records, where he released his first album, 1996’s “Joe Nichols.” The album didn’t sell, and Intersound dropped him. Giant Records picked Nichols up with another record deal, but he didn’t even get the chance to record anything before that label cancelled their deal with him, too.
Nashville might have seemed pretty unfriendly at that point in Nichols’ career. But he stuck it out, getting jobs as a furniture mover, a cable installer, and a salesman.
He went into the studio with his own money, determined to record regardless. Before long, indie boutique label Red Bow Records saw his potential. The third time was the charm.
Nichols’ first Red Bow single, “Sunny and 75,” premiered this past spring, and became a fast smash. This summer, he’s spent his time touring with monster country act Lady Antebellum, and is now on the road on his own, a trek that will include a much-anticipated stop at Petoskey’s Annual Emmet-Charlevoix County Fair.
Another “local celeb” of note will also be showcasing her achievements at this year’s fair: Fair Manager Agnes Shaw, who has been in charge of running this classic Northern Michigan event for two decades.
“We always get pretty excited this time of year, when all the events are lined up and ticket sales are hopping,” Shaw said in a press release.
“And we’re so glad Joe could join our grandstand schedule this year. He will be a big draw.”
Nichols is tops on a grandstand roster that includes the return of several fair favorites, including the Skerbeck Carnival, which is offering “Mega- Ride” wristbands this year; horse pulls; autocross racing; the dog agility show; the wildly popular monster truck shootout; and a brand new rodeo, which promises Western-themed thrills and spills.
Whether it’s strolling through the blinking midway full of lights, “fair food,” carnival rides, seeing the agricultural and craft exhibits, visiting the livestock, taking part in the karaoke contests, or rocking out to the country-western sounds of Joe Nichols, this year’s fair has it all.
The 109th Annual Emmet-Charlevoix Fair is running now through August 24, with Joe Nichols’ concert on Thurs., Aug. 21. For a complete schedule, call the Fair office at (231) 347-1010, or visit emmetcounty.org. Tickets can be purchased in advance at etix.com.