So Nail decided to pursue his dream of making music. That took a while to develop, too. He fought off doubt and depression like a batter with two strikes against him trying to foul off a series of pitches.
Now he’s ready to swing for the fences again. I’m About To Come Alive includes an impressive group of studio musicians, from lead guitarist extraordinaire Waddy Wachtel (Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Stevie Nicks) to bass player Glenn Worf (recently named the best in Nashville) to legendary keyboardist Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Allman Brothers).
Nail covers a lot of ground, going from the Ray Charles-influenced “Mississippi” that opens the album to “Missouri,” the closing cut that Nail said he wrote during a two-year bout with depression.
Whether it’s intentional or not, Nail’s pronunciation of his home state in the mournful song sounds a lot like “Misery.” Sample verse: “It’s hard to think that everything unraveled / To know there won’t be happy ever after.”
Nail, who turned 30 on May 18, isn’t dissing the Show-Me State, though, admitting he even misses it a little. “Ohhh, yeah,” he said after a long pause. “I think that anytime you spend 18 years in a place, it’s kind of hard to just up and bury it in the back of your mind; which is weird because I was so quick to want to get out. ... Maybe in 15 years or so, maybe I’ll go back when I get a family; ’cause I think there is something special and unique about that small-town way of life.”
Nail's album, though, gets a bright lights/big city boost, starting with co-producer Frank Liddell. His Carnival Music publishing company has had songs recorded by the cream of the country crop, including George Strait, Faith Hill, Sara Evans and Kenny Chesney, whose “Turning Home” Nail just had to have. A mix of church gospel and Motown with Leavell’s honky-tonk emphasis, it’s “my most favorite song to sing,” Nail said.
There also are songwriting contributions from Rascal Flatt’s Gary LeVox (“Summer Job Days”) and guest vocal appearances by Miranda Lambert (“Strangers On A Train”), Texas singer Stoney LaRue (“Looking For A Good Time”) and Natalie Hemby, who recently released Under the Radar and is married to I’m About To Come Alive co-producer Mike Wrucke. Even Taylor Swift, without prompting from anyone (“I’ve never met her,” Nail said), gave his snappy “Red Light” a green light on Twitter, saying it was “my new favorite song.”