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ToC Critic’s Pick: David Nail, ‘Fighter’

David Nail Fighter Album Art
MCA Nashville

You won’t find much fluff on David Nail’s Fighter album. In fact, lack of levity is about all a country fan can complain about on the singer’s personal fourth studio album.

Brothers Osborne join Nail for “Good at Tonight,” a rocker that represents the best of the uptempo. It’s a waterfall of ballads after that, with lyrics that require focus to full appreciate. Find the meat of the album at the middle: “Home,” “I Won’t Let Go,” “Fighter” and “Babies” are personal notes to his hometown, wife, wife and kids, respectively. Here Nail strips naked to show his scars and vulnerabilities. At times it’s voyeuristic. But mostly one can identify his stories in his or her own life.

“Babies” is the album’s centerpiece. During this song he recounts he and wife Catherine’s struggle to conceive and how his life has changed since becoming a father to twins. The Vince Gill collaboration (“I Won’t Let You Go”) is equally personal, but more approachable. In some ways, the singer uses his voice like Gill does the guitar. Both are patient, expressive and artistic.

A melodic one-night stand song called “Champagne Promise” is the album’s unicorn — a break before “Old Man’s Symphony,” a ballad written to his father. No single will represent the depth and inward nature of Fighter, as the most vulnerable songs are those he’s very hesitant to perform live. The deep cuts rule on this much-anticipated project.

Key Tracks: “Good at Tonight,” “Home,” “Babies,” “Champagne Promise”

Did You Know?: Lori McKenna and Needtobreathe also join Nail on this project.

See the Best Albums of 2016, So Far

Next: David Nail Finds His Way Home With 'Fighter'

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