Impact: David Nail’s ‘Fighter’: A Not-Always-Flattering Look at His Life

By Robyn Collins

David Nail’s fourth MCA Nashville album, Fighter, is the most vulnerable, personal record the country star has ever made. But that’s not the way the record started out.

“Six months ago, people would ask me about the record and I would jokingly say ‘It’s my love- making record,’” Nail explains. “But what it meant to me then and what it means to me now are completely different; having been a father for about five months, it definitely changes the dynamic of things.”

The 11 tracks on this record celebrate the victories and defeats of his real life. He’s taken a hard look at himself, and what he sees isn’t always flattering. “’Fighter’ is about as honest as I’ve ever been in a song,” Nail admits. “I mean, when you’re quoting your wife saying things that are not pleasant [about you], you know it was our story. … But it also, I think, tells the story of me.”

Nail explains that he and his wife Catherine have had to fight their whole lives– for his career, for their marriage, to battle back inner demons and to conceive their twins.

“[I was] like, ‘Am I ready to sing this? Am I ready to tell this story?” Nail says. “[But] they come from a genuine place that you can kind of say, ‘Okay, I’ve said that. I’m at peace with that.’ I think that’s what this record is. I feel like I’ve told the main aspects of my career, and my life, up to this point,” he explains. “So I really think whatever we do in the future, we’ll be able to start just completely fresh. It’ll be a new story, a new part of my life.”

Related: David Nail Details New Album Release

Producer Frank Liddell (who also produced Nail’s first three albums, I’m About to Come Alive, The Sound of a Million Dreams and I’m a Fire) made sure Fighter’s musical tone was as authentic as the songs. They are calling this project a “melting pot of Mississippi-delta sounds — a mix of classic-country balladry and sweaty Memphis soul, with touches of in-the-moment modernity sprinkled throughout.”

Some big-names pepper the record, with Nail inviting Vince Gill, the Brothers Osborne, Lori McKenna and Logan Brill to help tell his story, as well as Bear and Bo Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE. A Chris Stapleton co-write, “Ease Your Pain,” also made the track list.

“When I’m making a record, I selfishly want to push my buttons so I try to approach it as my swan song, it could be the last piece of music I make. I want to fulfill some life goals in the process, and one of my biggest influences in the world is Vince Gill so I’m thankful he said yes.”

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