Joe Nichols has a bone to pick with some of his fellow country artists. The "Yeah" singer believes many of today's biggest names have lost touch with their audience, which means their songs are not as powerful and effective as they could be.

"As a genre, we've forgotten who loves our music, and for the most part that's middle America, just regular people," Nichols tells Phoenix New Times. "I think in an effort to be cool, the fashionable thing, the hip thing, we've kind of forgotten that that's our bread and butter. We're country music; we represent the common man and woman."

Rather than focusing on creating trendy songs, Nichols believes songwriters and singers should get back to the heart of what matters: telling meaningful stories that truly connect with ordinary people.

"To me, [country music] gotten a little fickle," he insists. "The music has gotten a little bit redundant at times ... There's hills and valleys in all genres and I think we've kind of brought this on ourselves with not knowing what's going to happen next year, what's going to be popular."

The "Gimmie That Girl" singer believes that country music excels when the songs cover the joys, struggles and fears of ordinary life. "I think country was built on that kind of thing — storytelling and what your average day is like, weekend is like — and for me I think the lyric has to be meaningful to be a country song," the star continues. "I think it needs to sound like a country song from a country singer, believable as a country song. If it can fit in other genres 100 percent of the time, then you should probably look at what that really is."

Nichols is currently on the road and promoting a new single, "Hard to Be Cool."

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