David Nail: Old Girlfriends Inspire Songs, Too

You might think that every time a country singer is singing a love song, it’s about his wife. But for David Nail, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes a song might be about the one that got away or the one who did him wrong. But it sounds like even when the songs are not about her, Nail’s wife Catherine is cool with that.

“Man, I have to tell Cat sometimes, ‘Hey, obviously we’re gonna spend the rest of our lives together. And there are so many songs that were inspired by you. But there are a lot other songs where I have to go back in time and reference someone from the past and really get the juices flowing,’” Nail told me when I caught up with him in Nashville before the CMT Music Awards . “I’ve always thought that there is something beautiful about your first love. I talk about mine all the time, and Cat’s probably annoyed as hell.”

Nail said his first love taught him what it felt like to care so much about someone and to understand the idea that you’d spend the rest of your life with that person.

“When you’re 16 or 17 years old, you haven’t seen anything or gone anywhere,” he said. “But when you’re young and naive, that first love is a powerful thing. When my first love got married, I actually went back and sang in her wedding — just to really stick the dagger in. I know there’s a small part of her that regrets the decision she made.”

From that heartbreak, though, a song was born. Nail’s current single “Kiss You Tonight” was inspired by that time in his young love life.

“I was a very stubborn individual back then, and it took this girl to get me in gear and make me realize that sometimes you’ve gotta go the extra mile,” he said.

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