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PARCBENCH: David Nail Nails It With New Album — ‘The Sound of a Million Dreams’
David Nail – The Sound of a Million Dreams
*** (out of 4 stars)
Label: MCA Nashville
I suspect David Nail’s The Sound of a Million Dreams will be one of the more critically lauded country albums released this fall. But it’s not just country; it’s a more mature country than you are likely to hear. It’s also rock, soul, R&B and a bit of bluegrass as well. Often it’s a fusion of all of these. It’s as if your car radio only tuned in stations that played great music, no matter what genre (all of them performed expertly), and you just scanned the dial, loving the sounds. David Nail kind of does it all… and really well, at that.
The album features eleven songs (with three of those songs — including the hit “Let It Rain” — co-written by Nail). Other writers on the album include Phil Vassar, Scooter Carusoe, Billy Montana, Keith Urban, Eric Paslay, Jonathan Singleton, Lady A’s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, Jedd Hughes and Shane McAnally. The album also features guest spots from Lee Ann Womack on “Songs For Sale,” Sarah Buxton on “Let It Rain” and Nashville-based singer/songwriter Will Hoge on “Catherine.”
On The Sound of a Million Dreams, David Nail gives us the soulful country of his previous album, but he adds to it with emotional songs about love and heartache. It’s a complex mix of bluesy ballads and rhythms. Produced by Frank Liddell and Chuck Ainlay, the “sound of a million dreams” in the album title comes from this musical exploration. It’s an album that sounds vaguely familiar, not because you’ve heard any of it before, but because the effect of it as a whole is that it reminds you of some of your favorite albums. It’s one of those albums that I’m sure I will only appreciate more and more with repeated listenings.
“I Thought You Knew” (Written by David Nail, Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Monty Powell): This heartfelt song has a smooth and steady pulse that carries you along. But what comes across most is the message — that sometimes we think we’re doing a pretty good job in relaying our appreciation of our partner, but in reality, we could do a much better job.
“That’s How I’ll Remember You” (Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and Madeleine Slate): Like the ticking of a clock, the song starts with an undeniable insistence. It is soon met with the best lyric I’ve heard in quite awhile. The song is a reminder that remembering the best moments from a relationship is much more satisfying than remembering the reverse. It’s a song that will nudge your heart into remembering the best of an old flame. It’s a simple idea conveyed with a song full of purity and hopefulness.
“The Sound of a Million Dreams” (Written by Scooter Carusoe and Phil Vassar): This love song to the dreams of making it big in Nashville is my favorite track on the album. It captures all of the power that David Nail can infuse into a song and it typifies just what he is capable of.