Some say Nashville's best kept secret is Prince's Hot Chicken Shack or Mafiaoza's, but the true hidden talent is country artist David Nail.
Leaving his previous ballad-driven album days in the past, Nail is keeping up with the pace of country music with his third studio album "I'm a Fire," released Tuesday.
In order to keep up with the changing genre, Nail has taken his rich, crooning vocals and added in a few more up-tempo melodies that seemed to rarely make the cut on his past albums "I'm About to Come Alive" (2009) and "The Sound of a Million Dreams" (2011).
Though Nail's seen success from No. 1 hits such as "Red Light" and "Let It Rain," he somehow slipped through the cracks of country super-stardom over the years. His previous albums have been nothing short of deep, fresh and authentic records; however, they've seen little of the true recognition they deserve.
Nail aims to swap his strong, slow, Southern ballads for fast-paced, hook-filled melodies with "I'm A Fire." This is perhaps in order to transcend past traditional country audiences to reach the more pop-country demographic which has hit the country music scene within the last few years.
Songs such as "Whatever She's Got," which is Nail's second No. 1 hit song and first song on the new album, combines his strong, Southern voice with a touch of a pop-country melody. Though the new single sounds a bit more like a Florida Georgia Line song than previous singles of Nail's, such as "The Sound of a Million Dreams" or "Let It Rain," this song is set apart from much of the album.
Nail recently dubbed "Kiss You Tonight," his newest single, which is his second from "I'm a Fire." The single resonates a sort of sweet, loving desperation that pairs with Nail's solid vocals to create a song similar to Lady Antebellum's 2010 hit "Need You Now" and Gloriana's 2011 No. 1 single "(Kissed You) Goodnight."
However, Nail gives his beloved soulful sound a pulse on the album with "Brand New Day," a song about getting back to who the narrator once was before the heartache of the past, and "The Secret," a somber tune about a man at his first love's funeral.
"The Secret" is a heart-wrenching song sure to make the listener stop whatever it is they're doing during first listen with lyrics like, "Congregation spilling into the streets / Ain't it funny how the preacher's words / Disappear out here on the curb / Once the weight of an old friend's body and your hands meet?"
Throughout the album, Nail throws in a few curve balls with "When They're Gone (Lyle County)," a summer love song with just a touch of nostalgia that features country band Little Big Town, and "Galveston," which is an old Glen Campbell song rerecorded by Nail and featuring vocal guest Lee Ann Womack.
Apart from the fast-paced numbers worthy of becoming potential singles and the few soulful ballads presented on "I'm a Fire," Nail managed to slide in his usual broody, dramatic and slightly angsty sound in "Counting Cars," a tune about a guy listening for the sound of his loved one's car coming back home, and "Broke My Heart," which is a more up-tempo song about a girl he wishes would break his heart just so he can know her.
Though true fans of Nail's would likely rather hear more acoustic, piano-accompanied, vocally driven songs such as "Turning Home" or even his Adele cover turned EP song, "Someone Like You," Nail is sure to attract more attention from listeners with this brighter, faster-paced album.