On David Nail‘s latest record, I’m a Fire, you can hear several voices signing along with him. Some are very familiar and some are almost familiar.
So when I talked to Nail about the new music, I asked how he decided which singers he put on his short list — and why.
Lee Ann Womack: “When we decided to do a Glen Campbell song (‘Galveston’), I had to have Lee Ann because I wanted to make it as special as possible, and she has such a tremendous love for the history of country music. So I knew if we could capture it, she would agree to it.”
Little Big Town: “I loved this song ‘When They’re Gone (Lyle County)’ from the moment I heard it. But for whatever reason — I don’t know why — we just could not capture it. It was an eight instead of a 10. It was good, but it was missing something. And since I was out on the road with them, I saw how their shows are such an emotional journey and their voices are so magical. They suck you in. So it became my mission put them on the spot as much as possible to sing with me. Any time they complimented me, I’d say, ‘If I’m really that great, you’ll sing on my record.’”
Sarah Buxton: “Sarah’s got one of those voices that makes everything better. You tell yourself maybe you should try somebody else or use somebody different. But when it gets down to finding somebody different, you just keep coming back to her. She adds so much texture and so much emotion. It’s a formula that worked in the past, and I just hoped she wasn’t sick of singing on David Nail records.”
Aubrie Sellers: “I’d never heard her sing, but I knew both her parents (Womack and hit songwriter Jason Sellers), and so I knew if she got half their genes, she’d be fantastic — because they’re both phenomenal. Her voice is so eerily like her mom’s. I thought that was so cool to listen to Aubrie and know how many hours and hours and hours she’d spent listening to her mother and trying to emulate her. That is the ultimate flattery for a child to give to her mom. If you close your eyes, you’d swear up and down it was Lee Ann. And this song — ‘Brand New Day’ — was a song that was written right after I decided to seek out some help (in his battle with depression). It’s a song about saying, ‘Hey, I’m not there yet, and I don’t know when exactly I’m gonna get there, but I see hope. And I see the light. And I know that it’s not gonna be like this forever.’ It is very, very, very personal to me.”