David Nail - I’m A Fire

Hump Head 

David Nail appears to have crept up on us over the past few years. It seems quite unreal that his debut single, Memphis, was released a dozen years ago. It was to be another seven years before he cracked the top ten with his third single, Red Light. Tenaciously Nail has hung in there and finally his distinctive music is beginning to win over the hearts and minds of country music listeners around the world. Earlier this year, Whatever She’s Got, the first single from this, his third album, became his second number one American country hit. He owns a soulful voice, custom-made for heart-tugging narratives, which is what he continues to concentrate on with this stunning collection. The songs reflect the moments all of us experience in our lives; from the joy of being in love to the mess of falling out of love, from the desolation of bereavement to the happiness of meeting the right person at the right time.

Although most of the album is composed by a variety of writers, the singer’s own talent produces the most powerful song in The Secret. A well-paced ballad that stands to intrigue listeners with its interesting storyline. This is the kind of song that used to be a staple of country music in those ‘good old days’ of Tom T, Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson and Kristofferson. Poetic perception and a keen eye for the heart of the matter are trademarks of Nail and his music. With Brand New Day he steps carefully and thoroughly through hope, loss, optimism and heartbreak, only to come full circle and face the situation afresh. How to move on. His romantic vocal, a swelling production and a well-crafted song are all hallmarks of the pure class throughout this album. Though some tracks are more down-tempo, most like Kiss You Tonight are more upbeat and country inspired, though still exploring failing love and how to overcome life’s problems. Counting Cars is proof that you can find new ways to say old stuff; a more percussive number bursting with a delightful pop sensibility, the percolating rhythm track cooks behind his high, long vocal sustains. The closing revival of Galveston, featuring Lee Ann Womack, initially seemed a pointless track as the arrangement followed so closely the well-known Glen Campbell oldie, but further listens unveiled David Nail’s distinctive little touches enhanced by Lee Ann’s harmonies, that made the song new all over again. 

This is a beautiful album from a singer who is not afraid to let his heart rule, yet never lets his skills suffer. He has got one of country’s most lustrous voices, it has a crackling intensity that leaves you wanting to hear more. As impressive as it is felt, his robust, resonant tenor just might be country’s most limber and soulful this side of Ronnie Dunn. Through both empowering anthems and introspective ballads, I’M A FIRE is set to be a milestone for David Nail.