David Nail Review in The Oklahoman
The details make the difference on “The Sound of a Million Dreams,” the sophomore album from singer-songwriter David Nail.
With his 2009 debut effort, “I'm About to Come Alive,” Nail, 32, earned a Grammy nomination for best male country performance for “Turning Home” and an Academy of Country Music Award nod for single of the year for “Red Light.” Fans who made those previous singles top 20 hits should enjoy the follow-up album as Nail, who considers Glen Campbell one of his musical heroes, explores a modern-day take on the Countrypolitan sound.
Like most contemporary country artists, Nail's music merges country storytelling with arena rock, pop and even R&B influences. Yes, his songs bear more obvious sonic resemblance to Fleetwood Mac, the Black Crowes and even Elton John than, say, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, but with his butter-rich vocals, the Missouri native is never going to be mistaken for gritty.
Once again, Nail proves that his strength is using that soulful voice to transport listeners into the songs and the places, feelings and stories in them. The album opener, “Grandpa's Farm,” includes many of the same lyrical ingredients as the glut of sloppy Southern-fried rural anthems on the country charts: honeysuckle, fishing and even dirt streets. But Nail makes you feel the sticky heat and see the sheets flapping on the clothesline as he woos a city girl visiting her country relatives to the tune of a funky country-blues groove complete with big-voiced gospel backup singers and playful piano flourishes.
He makes apparent his allegiances to multiple musical genres with the title track, a nostalgic piano ballad that references Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen and Haggard and conjures up memories of youthful follies and regrets.
Nail doesn't sound like anyone else in mainstream contemporary country, but apparently fans of the format are ready for his country-soul fusion. Leadoff single “Let It Rain,” a heart-piercing portrait of a man accepting the consequences of cheating on his wife, already has reached No. 9 on the Billboard country songs chart and is gaining ground.
— Brandy McDonnell