Review: David Nail Sells Out Exit/In

A capacity crowd gathered at Exit/In last night (7/28) for MCA artist David Nail’s sold out Nashville show with up-and-comer Russell Dickerson. Nail’s soulful brand of country music was a smart fit for the venerable Elliston Place venue that has hosted acts as diverse as Talking Heads and Vince Gill.

Unsigned Russell Dickerson opened the show. A tall drink of water with a Telecaster, Dickerson mixes bright Keith Urban melodies with a loverman charm reminiscent of James Otto. He directed everyone to his Twitter page @russelled, where they could all get “Russelled” on a regular basis. His EP Die To Live Again is currently available on iTunes, as is his latest single “That’s My Girl.”

David Nail took the stage after a brief intermission, dressed in a gingham shirt and vest that were completely sweat-soaked within a matter of minutes. He opened his set with a slowed-down, moody take on “Looking For A Good Time” from his 2008 collection I’m About To Come Alive. The band rolled immediately into “This Time Around,” followed by a cover of Train’s “Respect.” A total of five songs flew by without a single word to the audience, and I was starting to get worried he might not acknowledge us at all.

As if reading my mind, Nail greeted the crowd right before song six.

“I promised myself I wasn’t gonna talk much and I don’t plan to,” he stated. “But it means more to me than you can know that we sold this bitch out tonight.”

Alright, fair enough.

Nail’s excellent set showcased his 2009 hit “Red Light” as well as his current single “Let It Rain” and “I’m About To Come Alive” (another Train song). The audience was also treated to some new material, including a dedication to his wife called “Catherine,” and a couple other covers like Ryan Adams’ “Firecracker” and Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be.”

In case you haven’t seen this guy perform live, let the record show that he’s one heck of a singer. His soulful inflections and impressive range approached the sublime, and his powerful voice is always front and center in the mix. His merch table had plenty of t-shirts and accessories, and bizarrely, underwear emblazoned with the David Nail logo. (Hey, I guess Christmas isn’t that far away…)

Also in the crowd enjoying the show were muzzbuzz colleagues Karen Light, Erin Duvall, Kama Upton, John and Jill Ettinger, Amanda Eckard, Kristen McCrary, the UMG Nashville crew including Tom Lord and Katie Dean, and reps from CAA who booked the show.

For his encore, Nail’s band churned up an extended blooze jam before segueing into the piano intro for his hit “Turning Home.” He followed that with a funky mashup of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Easy Like Sunday Morning,” before closing out the evening with the Tom Petty rave-up “You Wreck Me.”

As he finished “Turning Home,” Nail expressed his gratitude once again.

“When this show got booked, I called the booking agency and said ‘Man, I don’t know if I’m big enough to play Nashville.’ I can’t tell you how important that song has been to me so I’m just gonna shut up and sing, ok?”

David, keep singing like you did last night and you’ll be just fine.


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Category: Artist, Exclusive, Featured, Touring, Weekend

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