David Nail Has Perfect Timing

David Nail’s latest album I’m a Fire was released March 4. And because I saw his Wednesday night (March 26) performance in Chicago, three weeks is apparently exactly how much time people need to fall in love with his new music.

Nail timed this all just right. Sometimes, so-called album release parties aren’t really parties at all. If the new music has just come out, the fans don’t know it yet. So by waiting a little while, the show at Joe’s Bar became kind of a Nail Appreciation Night.

The new tunes didn’t feel so new when the crowd packed into the club was singing along. Like when Nail opened the show with “Countin’ Cars” and “Broke My Heart” and then threw “Burning Bed,” his new single “Kiss You Tonight” and his latest chart-topper “Whatever She’s Got” into the middle of his 90-minute set.

But it was the piano ballad nestled right in the middle that showcased the kind of solid country songwriting Nail’s so capable of.

“I don’t sing piano songs anymore,” Nail said of the new carefree, pop-country direction his music has taken. “But today I woke up and said … ’I want to sing a piano song.'”

Nail performed “The Secret,” a song from the new album he said he’d written about five or six years ago. And the fans seemed to get quieter, maybe even choked up, when he sang the story about the funeral of a secret love. Again, timing is everything. Had Nail brought the house down with a sad song before they knew it by heart, it might not have worked. But this worked.

“The Secret” wasn’t his only slow song in the show. Nail also did his 2010 glory-days tune “Turning Home” (written by Kenny Chesney and Scooter Carusoe) and “Catherine” (the song Nail wrote for his wife for his second album).

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.