Everyone will be cheering for Joe Nichols on Friday evening.

But, when the country star isn’t on the big stage, he’s doing a bit of cheering for something he’s totally a fan of.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Nichols about his beloved St. Louis Cardinals, who lead the National League’s Central division and are shaping up for a potentially deep postseason run. “We’ve just got to keep it up. We’re a dangerous team with great pitching.”

So sorry, Nats fans: Nichols does not share your rooting interests.

But there is still much to applaud in addition to his Friday gig with Rodney Atkins at the After Hours Concert Series at the Mark & Harrison Amphitheater.

Born and bred in Rogers, Ark., Nichols is calling Nashville home these days. Newer fans know Nichols for his more recent radio hits, including the No. 1 country airplay smashes “Yeah” and “Sunny and 75,” both off his 2013 LP, “Crickets.”

But, the 42-year-old’s discography stems way on back to his 1996 self-titled début and he’s inked in a couple more chart-topping hits along the way, too. These classics include “Brokenheartsville,” “Gimmie That Girl” and the timeless summer anthem “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.”

In addition to the classics, Nichols is also delivering some new tunes for fans live, including a ballad he’s really diggin’ called “Not Enough.” He says the newbies will result in an EP or full-length album in a TBD timeframe. All of these jams, mixed with the tail end of a sweaty Virginia summer, equate to quite a magical evening outdoors.

“For me, I grew up not caring what I look like, went out to the county fair and just enjoyed a good show,” he said. “When I’m performing, I feel that same way. Let’s drink a beer and have some fun.”

As for Nichols’ favorite fair treat back in the day? He’s quite diplomatic.

“It’s all good... it’s all fried and it’s hard not to like,” he said with a laugh. “But you can’t go wrong with that big ole turkey leg.”

In addition to his summer stint, it was recently unveiled that Nichols would be a part of Bret Michaels’ “Hometown Heroes Tour.” That tour kicks off in November, runs primarily through the Midwest (sorry, local fans) and will feature folks like Night Ranger, Joe Diffie, Lita Ford and Firehouse along the way.

“I think it’s certainly an interesting opportunity to play in front of his fans and vice versa,” he said of Michaels. “Sometimes an opportunity may seem a little strange at first, but sometimes those things turn out to be a really cool deal.”

Each show with Michaels will raise funds for charities and honor local heroes, spanning teachers, first responders and veterans.

“My wife and I are big military supporters,” said Nichols. “To me there are only two people that have ever died for me... and that’s Jesus and the American soldier. I give thanks every chance I get.”

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