Joe Nichols took the roundabout way to country success, scoring his first major hit six years after landing his initial record deal. A native of Rogers, Arkansas, Nichols grew up watching his father play bass in a local country band. He himself played in a rock band during his teenage years but soon came back to country, and after high school took a night job as a DJ while supporting himself as a mechanic by day. He met producer Randy Edwards at the latter job, and under Edwards' guidance, he performed regularly and worked on his songwriting. He landed a record deal with Intersound and released his self-titled debut in 1996, naturally with Edwards producing. The single "Six of One, Half a Dozen (Of the Other)" was a minor hit, but the album didn't sell particularly well. It did manage to earn Nichols a shot with Warner Bros., but a series of label mergers left him out in the cold, and he worked a series of day jobs around Nashville while looking for a new deal. In 2000, he struck up a songwriting partnership with session guitarist Brent Rowan, and two years later he signed with Universal. His label debut, Man with a Memory, was released in 2002, and its lead single, the ballad "The Impossible," went to number three on the country charts, also crossing over to the pop Top 30. In the wake of its success, his first album was reissued under the title Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other.