Album Review: David Nail’s ‘Fighter’

There are few words that can be used to describe the talent of David Nail. When you hear him on a record – or better yet, see him live – you come away with a deep appreciation for his vocal talent. Simply put, one could make the argument that he’s not one of us. On a ballad, his vocals soar into the stratosphere, and on the up-tempo songs, he takes the ordinary lyric and arrangement, and transfers it into a tour de force.

On his fourth album for MCA, the Missouri native continues to develop his craft. There’s a mix of both styles on the album, with “Good At Tonight” and lead-off single “Night’s On Fire” showcasing the groove side of what Nail does so exceedingly well. Seriously, I don’t know if there is any style of music that the singer can’t master. He’s simply that good.

As usual, the slower material here serves as the “money” performances. And, when it comes to this, Nail can yell “Bank” all over the place. “Home” is a very emotional ode to a place that he is very familiar with, and he knocks it out of the ball park with a vocal where he reels it in from a restraint point of view – but only to dazzle with his commanding warmth as a vocalist. The presence of Lori McKenna also adds to the power of the cut. He also stands toe to toe with Vince Gill (who delivers a jaw dropping guitar intro) on the brooding and intense “I Won’t Let You Go.”

Photo courtesy MCA Nashville

Photo courtesy MCA Nashville

He also gives the listener a look inside at one of the biggest changes of his life over the past few years – fatherhood – with the sweetly sentimental “Babies,” which will stand as a highlight of the disc among any fan who is a parent. And, as the album cruises to its’ apex, Nail saves the best for the last.

“Got Me Gone” brings back the grooving side of Nail to the nth degree, with his voice cutting the through the arrangement as light as a feather – yet still as potent as can be. He collaborates with Bear Rinehart and Bo Rinehart of Needtobreathe on the masterpiece “Old Man’s Symphony,” and in perhaps the highlight of the album, he dazzles with the highly underrated Logan Brill on the seductive “Champagne Promise.” Gorgeous and stunning are two words you could use to describe their collaborative effort……and you still wouldn’t be doing it justice. It might be a little too heavy – or adult – for Country Radio, but it’s a true gem in every sense of the word.

So, David Nail has done it again. With Fighter, he delivers another sterling example of why industry insiders consider him to be one of the most effective vocalists in town. While radio has been behind him, giving him several hits over the years – hopefully this disc will jump him to the head of the class. After all, it’s a place that he deserves to be!

Fighter is available for purchase HERE.