If you were to ask most country artists today what their primary goal of being a singer is, most likely they will answer by saying they simply want to touch and move people. They want to record and release music that not only resonates with them, but that will resonate with their audience as well. However, achieving that goal is easier said than done. In fact, it’s rare to find a song where the artist’s delivery matches the powerful message behind a set of lyrics. In recent years we’ve found a couple gems that live up that incredibly high standard of quality with songs by Miranda Lambert (“The House that Built Me”) and Sugarland (“Stay”). David Nail’s “The Sound of a Million Dreams” can now be added to that list of incredible songs.
Nail’s second single from the album with the same name is a brilliant lyrical tribute to the power of a song. Written by Phil Vassar and Scooter Carusoe, the song takes us on a lyrical journey down the narrator’s memory lane as songs by Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, and Merle Haggard bring back both joyous and painful memories. While the fun filled days he spent with a former flame are brought back by Seger’s “Main Street,” the song becomes real as Haggard’s “Mama Tried” brings back the days he regretfully spent as a troublesome 18-year old. He even goes as far as to say “when I hear “Mama Tried” I still break down and cry and pull to the side of the road.”
The beauty of this stunning set of lyrics is the fact that we aren’t just being served with a song about songs, but rather a look into what David Nail hopes and aspires to be as a musician. The chorus’ imagery allows us as an audience to see why he spends hours upon hours honing his craft as a musician. As I said earlier, it’s simply so he can touch and move his audience on an emotional and personal level, just like how his own musical inspirations resonated with him.
“So I labor for hours ’cause I know the power
Of a song when when a song hits you right
Pouring my soul into stories of life
Hoping someone’ll hear one tonight
Maybe my voice will cut through the noise
And stir up an old memory
And out of these piano keys
Comes the sound, the sound of a million dreams”
The way in which Nail delivers the lyrics makes you think this is a personal narrative rather than a song written by someone else. He utilizes every ounce of emotion, heart, and soul to resonate with the powerful lyrics. Clearly the singer has never sounded as brilliant as he does here. The piano-clad production provides a soothing and tasteful backdrop that provides no distraction from the singer’s velvety tone and vocal delivery.
From the thought provoking lyrics to the phenomenal vocal performance turned in by David Nail, this is a song worth describing using the “m” word: masterpiece.