When David Nail released his freshman album, I'm About to Come Alive, in 2009, the Missouri native was a fresh sound in country music. For fans of more traditional country music, his soulful voice and his ability to tackle deep topics provided a welcome reprieve from the pop-influenced sounds and "bro-country" trend that was beginning to dominate the genre.
Throughout the almost-decade since then, Nail has released three more albums and charted several hit songs, including two No. 1 singles. Below, The Boot selects Nail's five biggest songs (so far).
"Kiss You Tonight"From: 'I'm a Fire' (2014)
""Kiss You Tonight" was a song that, the first time I heard it, I knew I was going to record it,” Nail shared in a video announcing the release of this song. “There was just something about it that made me remember so many songs from the past that -- you know, there’s not a specific thing that jumps out at you the first time you hear it; you just know, ‘Hey, I wanna hear that again.'”
Written by David Cook, Jay Knowles and Trent Summar, "Kiss You Tonight" was the lead single from Nail's third studio album.
"Whatever She's Got" From: 'I'm a Fire' (2014)
"Whatever She's Got," written by Jon Nite and Jimmy Robbins, became Nail's second No. 1 hit. The song has also been certified platinum.
"I felt the obvious assumption is that it sounds like a summer song, but I feel there have been songs, even as recent as this past year, that people felt were summer songs, but they were No. 1 in February or November," Nail told Billboard of this song, which hit the top of the charts in early 2014. "A great song is a great song, it doesn’t matter when you’re listening to it."
"Red Light" From: 'I'm About to Come Alive' (2009)
Nail's first Top 10 hit, "Red Light" was written by Jonathan Singleton, Dennis Matkosky and Melissa Peirce. The song tells the story of a couple that breaks up while sitting at -- you guessed it -- a red traffic light.
""Red Light" shows a different perspective of a breakup,” Nail says of the song (quote via ACountry.com). “It’s not your typical situation, since it describes a beautiful day and everything seeming to be perfect, but that’s what makes it unique.”
"Night's on Fire"From: 'Fighter' (2016)
Singleton and Derric Ruttan co-wrote "Night's on Fire," which was the first single from Nail's Fighter album. Several other artists were after the sultry song, but Nail convinced its writers that he was the one to record it.
"I thought to myself -- I won’t say the name -- but [this artist] had just released a single, so I knew they couldn’t be recording it any time soon,” Nail recalls. “So, that’s really the first time that I’ve ever tried to manipulate the situation with a song. I immediately started saying, ‘Well, that person’s not close to making a record. They just released another song off this record, and here I am going in the studio next Wednesday. Do you want to guarantee yourself a cut?’"
"Let It Rain"From: 'The Sound of a Million Dreams' (2011)
Nail co-wrote "Let It Rain" with Singleton, and the song features Sarah Buxton. Inspired by the Zach Braff movie The Last Kiss, Nail sings, "I feel myself missing / Everything I threw away / Every dream, every scene / Every song we'd ever sing / Got lost in yesterday."
"Prior to getting married, most of my relationships ended sort of sour," Nail explains to The Boot. "I was never short of material to dive back into. Now I’m happily married and in a real positive place, and when it came time to start writing for [The Sound of a Million Dreams], I was like, 'Man, I don’t have any miserable moments to pull from now. I think I tapped that well dry.'"