I, Joe Paul Nichols, am a graduate of JHS, Class of 1960

    The word exuberant means joyously unrestrained. When Joe Paul Nichols talks about my life, my family, and my music I am exuberant and then some.

     In my words, Joe Paul loves his life. It began on September 13, 1941, in Cundiff, Texas, twelve miles east of Jacksboro. He was the middle child born to O. W. "Jack" and Myrtle Riggs Nichols, a fourth generation Texan.

     Joe Paul attended Jacksboro schools from the first grade through high school. One of his interests in high school was basketball. I played varsity basketball for three years. I was a member of F.F.A. for four years and a officer for one year plus I was a member of student council my senior year. My senior year I was voted Mr. F.T.A. , F.H.A. Prince Charming and Most Courteous Boy of J.H.S. I, also, won second place out of fourteen contestants at the F.F.A. State Convention in the talent contest in San Antonio, Tx. Another interest I had was country music and it started at a young age. I grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry, Louisiana Hayride, and the Big D Jamboree.

     My father, who was a "picker and singer", taught me to play the guitar when he was nine years old. By the time I was in high school, I was already playing country and western music around this area every weekend. In 1957, when I was 16 years old, his dad took me to Fort Worth to audition for the "Cowtown Hoedown", a weekly country and western show held at the Majestic Theater. The audition got me a job performing every other week on the "Cowtown Hoedown". I played there for three years.

     My dream came true when I began performing weekly on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas a billing that lasted for seven years. In 1970, I formed my own band, "The Five Pennies". I was referred to as a regional singer, performing primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Missouri. The Five Pennies and I are known for our traditional country music and western swing, plus country gospel music. Twin fiddles and the steel guitar are dominant in my music. The Five Pennies and I ave brought Country Music to school auditoriums, civic centers, clubs, rodeos, fairs and conventions from small towns to the large cities.

     My solo appearances included 15 to 20 churches a year, the Prairieville Farm Days Festival in Michigan, the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a long with guest appearances on various stage shows and Opry's across Texas.

    My music career of 50 years has been nothing but a passionate journey down the road of country music. I was very saddened when I was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease in September, 2007. I was not expecting to end my singing career at this time in my life, however once again my Lord has reminded me, He is in control. I could choose to be angry, however my Lord has blessed me throughout my life. I had my band "The Five Pennies" for 35 years. I retired the band in 2008 after being diagnosed with ALS and it taking my voice. Over the 50 years I recorded over 300 songs and cut 26 albums/CD's and worked with some great artist in Country Music, like George Jones, Ernest Tubb, Charley Pride, Johnny Cash, Jennie Seely, Leona Williams, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Pretty Miss Norma Jean,Ferlin Husky, Sheb Wooley, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hank Thompson, Moe Bandy, Sonny James and many more. I was fortunate to have three songs reach the top of the National Charts, " JESUS IS THE SAME IN CALIFORNIA" in the Country Gospel Charts in 1999, in the Western Swing Charts in 2006 "ELEVEN EIGHTEEN NADINE LANE", and July 2010, the song "TAKE MY HAND PRECIOUS LORD", hit number one spot in the Country Gospel Charts. I am very pleased that my CD's are being played on XM Radio. Over the years I have received many awards for my music. As a young boy who started singing on the back of his daddy's truck on the square in Jacksboro, I never dreamed that my music would be played on radio stations around the world. I was honored to host the Ernest Tubb Mid-Night Jamboree, a live radio show on W.S.M. out of Nashville, TN. that has aired over 53 years. I played several fund raisers, one for Lady Bird Johnson in Austin, one for Congressman Bob Price of Pampa, Tx. where Ronald Reagan was the speaker, and a Bar-B-Que dinner for Governor Kenting of Oklahoma. I, also, played for the D.A.V. for 12 years at their state and national conventions. I, also, played Panther Hall in Fort Worth. An other privilege I had was to be music director of my home church, Cundiff Baptist, for 48 years. I have worked revivals, and concerts for other churches.

    Two singers that I admire are Sonny James and George Jones. Sonny James for the type of life he has lived and George Jones for his talent. A quote from a great friend, Larry Scott / Radio DJ, KVOO, Tulsa, OK.

     "JOE PAUL NICHOLS is a fourth generation TEXAN, from Jacksboro. Coming from Texas frontier stock, to me, makes Joe Paul, someone very special. The character of those hearty pioneers was impeccable. Their word was good; they were honest, hard workers, and a people of high moral values. This is Joe Paul Nichols. Joe Paul amplifies all the above, when he is visiting with his freinds, and fans, performing on stage, and recording. Joe Paul is Real Country Music".
                                    Larry Scott / Radio DJ

     Now back to my normal life. I worked for TX DOT, as a state inspector, for 34 years and took early retirement 1993. Terry Beene and I started " NICHOLS & BEENE BUS TOURS in 1994 and have been very successful over the 17 years. I became Jack County Commissioner, Precinct One, 1999, and served 10 years. I was on the Board of Jack County Farm Bureau for 23 years. The Five Pennies and I have enterained crowds at fund raiser concerts for the Cundiff Vol. Fire Department for 12 years.

     I give a lot of credit to my wife, Carolyn, for loving and supporting me throughout the years in his quest for a life in country/western music. Carolyn Martin and I met in high school, and have been married 47 years. We have two children, Joe Paul Nichols, Jr. and Jennifer Jeanette Gasca. The six granddaughters and one grandson are the light of my life. Again I am very lucky to have a loving and supportive family to help me through the difficult times ahead. I have been fortunate to see my son and daughter grow into successful individuals, watch them marry, and give me those seven wonderful grandchildren. Although music has been important to me, the highlight of my life was my family. I believe having a positive attitude is a key to success, and having a life focused on God, family and friends is important, too.

     I consider myself to be a blessed man. I have gained so many friends and fans over the past years and each one has a special place in my heart memories. I want to say, "Thanks" to the fans who listen to Traditional Country Music, Western Swing and Country Gospel Music, to the DJ's who play it. Let us keep it alive and going strong.

     Thank you for making me recall all the memories,

     Joe Paul Nichols


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