Joe Nichols' career in country music spans 20 years, and the country singer says the thrill of having a No. 1 song, selling records and having fans come out to his live shows has never wavered.

"I think the biggest difference is I think I appreciate it more," Nichols tells Taste of Country. "My age is telling me that I should appreciate every moment that I've been given in this business. In my 20s, I was like, 'Eh. Probably will always happen.' In my 30s I'm more appreciative of the success we do have."

While the "Brokenheartsville" hitmaker admits that he typically doesn't plan years into the future, he says one year from now he would like to be on a steady progression.

"I'd like the conversations to be about the success of the album that we are now just completing, the tour we're going to be doing next year," he explains. "The next right thing and the next big thing — I'd like to be a part of it."

Well-known for his love of traditional country music, Nichols says he often listens to country radio to learn what's working and what's not. He's a fan of Eric Church especially, because appreciates Church's authenticity.

"It's original and sounds real," Nichols says.

His most recent single, "Freaks Like Me," has been well received by his fans, who are often more traditional country music listeners themselves.

"A lot of my fans have come together and said, 'We are freaks.' Old-school thinking," he says. "That's a pleasure to see that, I'm very proud to see that. Nowadays being a freak is being somebody who would be considered normal 50 years ago, a more old-school traditional person is a weird person nowadays. I'm not sorry that I'm kind of like that."

Nichols will headline Headwaters Country Jam in Montana this summer. More info on pricing and packages is available at He'll also be at WE Fest 2016. Learn about all of the hottest festivals of 2016 via our handy festival guide.

Joe Nichols Talks About Cutting 'Baby Got Back'

More From Taste of Country