By Alanna Nash
Updated August 02, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Nichols, whose vocal quality recalls that of the great Keith Whitley, proves the working man’s friend in these blue-collar meditations on love, loss, and the crapshoot of life. If he too often plays it safe with predictable, radio-ready material written by others (”The Impossible”), he scores higher with his own ”Everything’s a Thing,” a groove boogie that puts the rhythm back in country blues.