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David Nail

I'm a Fire – 2014 (MCA Nashville)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by David Nail

The struggles battling severe depression despite budding success and the adoration of peers and fans alike that David Nail endured during his journey to the recent release of his new album reads something like a country song of its own.

And in hindsight, Nail's previous releases were brooding and at times melancholy. Unconscious reflections of his previously undiagnosed condition? Maybe. Nonetheless, the unmistakable positive vibe that shines through his newest album doesn't diminish Nail's qualities as one of country music's leading male artists one bit.

His wife Catherine, who talked him through the darkest days of his depression in early 2012, provided the inspiration for the title track. "Brand New Day" bubbles over with optimism, and "Burnin' Bed" is a sexy little romp.

There are several angst-filled weepers among the 11-song Frank Liddell-produced collection, including "The Secret" and the wistful "Countin' Cars." Nail sweetly harmonizes with Lee Ann Womack (who also is Liddell's wife) on his honest read of "Galveston." The Jimmy L. Webb classic, which was written as an anti-Vietnam War song - Nail avoids the original's controversial lyrics - seems just as suited to Nail's voice as it was for Glen Campbell's 1969 release.

As has happened to countless other country performers before him, Nail's story could have been a tragic tale of tumbling downhill into alcoholism and obscurity, or worse. Fortunately Nail's current trail is still climbing the mountain of success. Happy endings can make for a great country story, too.