When it comes to the current crop of male vocalists in country music, there are very few out there who can compete with David Nail in terms of pure vocal talent. Look no further than YouTube and his cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You” if you need proof. Nail recently released his third album, I’m a Fire, which shows his voice at its finest and just like a fire – warm, roaring and unbridled.
Although the album comes on the heels of its lead single “Whatever She’s Got” hitting #1, the disc doesn’t rely solely, or really much at all, on that musical formula. Nail samples different sounds, tempos and moods throughout the disc and although nothing here would sound out of place on country radio, it’s nice to hear an album that’s more than a simple wash, rinse, repeat of success. “Whatever She’s Got” may have been a bonafide bouncy hit, but Nail shines brightest on the moodier offerings, including the Bob DiPiero, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally penned track, “Burnin’ Bed.” The tracks wraps you in immediately, with Nail mysteriously crooning the cryptic and almost despondent intro, “Tangled. Vodka. Midnight. Can’t stay. Taxi. Goodnight.”
Another immediate standout is the slow burning ember, “The Secret,” an ode to an affair that literally goes to the grave. The track epitomizes country music at its finest. “I can’t help but think about all that we could’ve been had you not stayed here and settled for a life with him.” Nail croons, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, buried is the secret that was us.”
Although he shines on the moody offerings, he also excels on the catchy tunes like “Broke My Heart” and “Kiss You Tonight,” the album’s second single. Although it’s decidedly less catchy than “Whatever She’s Got,” “Kiss” is still a solid track with enough earworminess to slither up the country radio charts. “I’ve been trying to do without you, but I can’t give up this fight.” Nail pleads, “Everything will be alright if I can just kiss you tonight.”
Other highlights of the album include “When They’re Gone (Lyle County),” featuring the incomparable Little Big Town on background vocals and co-written by everyone’s current country crush, Brett Eldredge. The foursome add an incredible depth to the track that quickly elevates it from good to great. The Glen Campbell cover “Galveston” features LeAnn Womack, and like the collaboration with LBT, Womack’s vocals only elevate the track and force us to wonder where she’s been and queue up “Last Call” to play after I’m A Fire ends.
Much like Dierks Bentley’s RISER, this album is a hybrid of a departure combined with natural progression for David Nail. It relies more on guitar than piano and shows Nail flexing his impressive vocal chords over varied melodies, lyrics and emotions. It’s been a bit of a rough ride through bro-country music lately, but albums like I’m A Fire and RISER give us high hopes for Nashville’s most talented leading men.
Let me know what you think of the album!
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