The last time Joe Nichols was in these parts, he played as surprise opener on the first show on Garth Brooks’ three-night stint at the Save Mart Center. He did a cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” and Merle Haggard’s “Okie From Muskogee,” to get a sense of his take on country music.
The singer returns to the Valley in April as part of the 103rd year of the Clovis Rodeo. Nichols will headline the first night of the rodeo, April 27. The Eli Young Band, a Texas group, will perform the Friday night show, April 28.
Tickets for both concerts – and all other rodeo events – are available online and at the Clovis Rodeo ticket office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday. The ticket office will reopen in March.
Nichols is no newcomer to the game. He’s been playing since the later 1990s and was the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist in 2003. The singer has a string of recognizable hits including “Brokenheartsville” and “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” His latest album, “Crickets,” reached No. 3 on Billboard’s country albums charts and features two No. 1 hits, “Yeah” and “Sunny and 75.”
Anyone paying attention to country radio in 2011 knows The Eli Young Band. The Texas four piece had Billboard’s most played country song of that year, with “Crazy Girl.” The tune was also ACM’s song of the year. The band followup hits, too, with “Even if It Breaks Your Heart” and “Drunk All Night.”
Of course, the band is known for its live show and massive touring schedule – its last album was called “10,000 Towns” for a reason. The band last played Fresno in 2013, opening for Kenny Chesney on his No Shoes Nation tour.