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Billboard.com feature on David Nail
David Nail Bucks Labels: 'I'll stick to the Singing Part'
by Chuck Daughpin, Nashville
November 15, 2011
David Nail is a little bit different. His music is country to some, while others might have a different opinion. Classification is not something that worries the Kennett, Missouri native that much.
"I've never really gotten into the whole labels thing. There were times I would cover a pop song, and people would say 'You sound really country.' I gave up on that whole thing a long time ago. I decided I was just going to sing the type of songs I gravitated toward and inspired me and moved me. I was going to let the people whose job it was to decide what places to put it, and let them do that. I'll stick to the singing part."
And sing he does on his latest disc, "The Sound Of A Million Dreams," which hits stores today. His second album for MCA Nashville, the set was launched by his latest hit single, "Let It Rain." Just like its' predecessor, "I'm About To Come Alive," this album was produced by Frank Liddell. Nail says his relationship with the award-winning producer has been close from the start.
"I think that it's definitely unique," he said. "Everybody that I've been involved with in this town, I've had a pretty strong and unique personal relationship with. There are very few people that I deal with from a business side that it's just strictly a one-sided business relationship. I think that's important. When I first moved to town, I got advice on the pros and cons of letting things get personal. I just felt like I wanted to be around good people with morals and values, and Frank has that. The first six or seven times we talked, we talked about football," he admits, saying that at some point their conversation had to get past Texas Longhorns talk. "It literally got to the point I had to ask him 'Frank, are we ever going to work together?"
"Sound Of A Million Dreams" features some fantastic harmony from the likes of Lee Ann Womack ("Songs For Sale"), Will Hoge ("Catherine") and Sarah Buxton on several cuts on the disc. He says that was very much an important part of the album.
"I pay such close attention of the record making process that most people would assume are very little and wouldn't be that big of a deal the packaging, the title, and the harmonies, I think are arguably as important as the lead vocals.I'm a huge Will Hoge fan. I knew I wanted to have someone really significant in both style and name sing on that song ("Catherine") because it was so personal to me. But, I would have never thought of him. I would think 'Why didn't I think of that?' The crazy thing about Sarah was that I got so excited when Frank mentioned her. We had actually talked about her singing on a song that she never ended up singing on. He ended up giving her two or three songs. I've always thought that with my voice, a female complements it so well."
At a recent showcase for the album in Music City, many in the crowd were captivated by Nail's performance -- particularly on the title cut, which is one of Nashville's top musical moments of 2011.
"Sometimes in my show, I'll mention that artists rarely have the chance to sing their favorite songs or songs they believe are the best they've ever heard," he said. "Most of the time, you hear an artist reference somebody else's song as their favorite. I think that's one of the most beautifully written songs, and to have the opportunity to sing it is such a huge honor."
He added that he knew he'd record the song after hearing only four lines.
"It's funny how fate works sometimes. You go into this record, and you don't know what kind of shape it's going to take, and you don't know how things are going to piece together. You have that song, which was one of the first songs we cut, and it ended up serving as the theme of the record" he said. "How many times to you reference a point in your life by song, and the type of music you were listening to? This record is such a window into the kind of music I grew up listening to."