David Nail: I’m About to Come Alive

RIYL: Vince Gill, Kenny Chesney, Train

That cha-ching sound you just heard was the royalty cash register for another mainstream pop/rock songwriter, as a country music artist has not just cut a song by the band Train, but made it the title track for his MCA Nashville debut. The artist is David Nail, and while Nail has endured ups and downs and at least one failed move to Nashville, the story has a happy ending, or at least a happy middle upon the release of I’m About to Come Alive, which might also be symbolic for the young artist. Nail has co-written about half the material here, and it might be curious that he’d go with a full blown cover song as his title track, but if you follow Train at all, you know it’s one of their best and most heartfelt songs. And it comes a couple years after Gary Allan had success with Vertical Horizon’s “Best I Ever Had.” But back to Nail, because he and producer Frank Liddell have managed to put a set of tunes together that is as good or better than anything Nashville has produced in the past decade. And the same can be said for Nail’s powerful vocal ability. Of course the title track is stellar, but there are some other beauties on here, especially “Red Light” and the Garth Brooks-ish “Looking for a Good Time,” the latter of which features some pretty guitar work. (MCA Nashville)

David Nail MySpace page


Chris Knight: Trailer II

A lot of country singers don’t know squat about horses, trailer parks, and rural life – but they can sound like they do, thanks to the songs written for them by guys like Chris Knight. A former coalmine inspector from a speck on the map in Kentucky, Knight is one of those plucked-from-obscurity successes whose story sounds like it was dreamed up in a Beverly Hills bungalow for a crappy movie script, but he’s the real deal – and though he’s never enjoyed a ton of success as a recording artist, he’s written plenty of cuts for more established acts: Montgomery Gentry, John Anderson, Ty Herndon, and Gary Allan are just a few of the performers who have covered his songs. Trailer II, as you might have already gleaned from its title, is a collection of demos taped in a trailer, and a sequel to 2007’s well-received The Trailer Tapes. Recorded over a decade ago, when Knight was still years away from making his major label debut, these performances offer a grippingly intimate snapshot of an artist with little more than a guitar and a dream. Unlike The Trailer Tapes, the songs that make up Trailer II will be familiar to Knight’s fans, but hearing them here, in all their stripped-down majesty, provides a more direct emotional connection to the material. He’s been described as “John Prine and Steve Earle rolled into one,” and despite the hyperbole of the comparison, that’s as apt a way as any to describe what you’ll hear here. Forgive the somewhat dodgy fidelity and bask in the sweltering heat of a bona fide Americana talent. (Drifter’s Church 2009)

Chris Knight MySpace page


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