The lead single from I’m A Fire, “Whatever She’s Got,” hit #1 roughly a month before the album hit stores and is close to becoming his first Platinum single (his other Top 5 hits “Red Light” and “Let It Rain” are both Gold). The song is also perhaps the first ‘happy’ or ‘upbeat’ song he’s released to radio and throughout I’m A Fire David Nail has clearly tried to record more ‘happy’ songs as his life is pretty dang good with a loving wife and a career that was nearly over before it started (he was once signed to Mercury Nashville a decade ago before he got signed to MCA, both UMG Nashville labels under the same ‘leadership’). “Broke My Heart,” a song that feels like a potential radio single, is melodically upbeat even if the lyrics suggest otherwise while second single “Kiss You Tonight” finds David in mid-tempo story song mode (click here for deeper analysis of this single).
There are still ballads on I’m A Fire but they’re just more mid-tempo based like the brilliant “Burnin’ Bed,” with its strong lyrics about a couple who don’t know how to say goodbye to each other so they continue to have passionate moments together. The melody is as interesting as the lyrics and the song was written by Bob DiPiero, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally. Another ballad, “The Secret,” which may also be one of the best songs I’ve ever heard David Nail sing, finds the singer telling a story of a first love who chose to stay home and marry a different man (an abusive man who ultimately kills her) while David’s narrator moved on. It’s set up around her funeral and it’s exactly the kind of song radio should want to play but it may be both too heavy and too ‘slow’ (though it’s still not super slow) for them to play in this current climate. The song was written by David with Scooter Carusoe.
The title track (“I’m A Fire”) has a rockin’ guitar-driven melody to it which feels different than I’ve come to expect from songs co-written by award-winning writer Tom Douglas but he did co-write it with Jaren Johnston (who provides harmony vocals on the track). The song is up-tempo, it is also a nice little romantic song with strong lyrics and is likely a potential radio single down the road. The album features Little Big Town on “When They’re Gone (Lyle County)” and Lee Ann Womack on a cover of Glen Campbell’s “Galveston” to close out the album, There are also times when Aubrey Sellers (Lee Ann Womack’s daughter) and Sarah Buxton are audible on other tracks on the album.
David Nail’s I’m A Fire definitely is more ‘upbeat’ and less ‘downtempo’ than his previous albums and it really does feel like his true breakthrough album. Here’s hoping Country radio is interested in helping Nail become one of their bigger stars since he makes such interesting albums like I’m A Fire. The third time really is the charm.