Sunday, January 8, 2012

David Nail Nails It

Turning It On, Turning Home

David Nail’s song, “Turning Home” succeeds due to three specific factors that The Inky Jukebox would like to elucidate, because we like craft and this is craft at its finest.

1) Great Song

This one’s written by Scooter Carusoe and Kenny Chesney, a winning team of the kind of pedigree that David Nail, at this juncture in his career, can be offered songs by. If you consider Scooter’s hits (“Anything But Mine,” “Better As A Memory” — Both Kenny Chesney; “Guinevere” — Eli Young Band; and “We Run” and “Fall Into Me” — Sugarland), you can see that he knows how to tap a mighty songwriting vein. Kenny Chesney’s no slouch either when it comes to crafting the hometown love song (that is, a love song to one’s hometown). Nail’s big breakthrough hit, “Red Light,” and his hit “Let It Rain” also had the benefit of some serious songwriting muscle in the form of Jonathan Singleton.

2) Great Arrangement

Jangly piano and the kind of chord progression that hits you right in the spine is always a great way to open a song, but it MUST be followed with a set of choruses and verses which push and elevate that theme. Nail has that ability to lift the tenor of a note into the stratosphere where hit songs reside, and he employs it to full effect here. The Inky Jukebox is a complete amateur when it comes to knowing what-all of these things are called, technically, but we know it when we hear it, and more specifically, when we SING it. If you sing along properly, you will notice that to reach the money notes you have to sing loud as all-get-out while giving it your absolute ALL. Otherwise the notes simply fall flat. You can hear an example of this in the lines “Graduation came and went / Along with all the time we spent.” Imagine hitting “spent” and needing to raise your arms in a TD gesture like you’re the ref at the Superbowl. Of course, the opening of the chest cavity during this move allows more air in, which is why singers do it. It’s the emotional center of the song, and has earned the right to be given full steam.

This lifting of the pitch and massive injection of full-on volume is also something Justin Moore uses to make simple songs into anthems (see “Outlaws Like Me” at the end).

3) Great Voice

You hear judges on audition TV shows talking about it — a certain quality to a singer’s voice that makes it just sound creamy and smooth and full of a lovely “tone.” It’s an inscrutable element that will make some singers stars, and David Nail is one such person. His voice is like a hot cocoa spiked with bourbon; goes down real easy, and kisses you on the inside once it arrives. Oh Mama. He can pull it out sitting in a busy restaurant just as well as a proper stage. Anyone who can sing this well while sitting down has what it takes.

4) He don’t hurt to look at neither. The Inky Jukebox loves the beautifully shot black and white recording / practicing / performing video as a form in itself; this is a really good example of that.

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