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David Nail

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Growing up in a small southeastern Missouri town, David Nail might’ve chosen to follow any of the dreams that drifted by like the riverboats on the mighty Mississippi: but in the end, it was music that called his name. “I was definitely more into sports growing up,” says the Midwest native, “I think I was expected to play in college, but as I grew older I became more interested in music. After my senior year, I had a few small college offers to play baseball. My coach came to me and said ‘David, you need to decide where you’re going to school,’ and out of the blue I just said, ‘Do you know anybody in Nashville?’”

For singer-songwriter Nail, it was a history-making moment — small town boy decides to chase a big city dream — and a theme that has informed his music ever since. On his first album from MCA Nashville, he neatly bridges the divide, laying claim to his hometown roots while keeping a firm grip on the future, and all the deeply emotional territory in between.

“I feel like regardless of where you grew up, city, small town, east coast, west coast or whatever, there’s something in this music that you can relate to,” he says. “They might not all be exactly the same, but everyone has those moments; the first time you left home, falling in love, losing love. That’s what moves me, what I can dig into.”

Nail, son of a former high school band director, cut his musical teeth on a record collection that included Stevie Wonder, Elton John and the Beatles. “Elton John was one of the main reasons I started singing, and is still a tremendous influence,” he says. “I think he and the Beatles are probably two of the greatest melody makers of all time.

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