Well, now, this is an interesting combination. A co-write between Kenny Chesney and Scooter Carusoe (who wrote Chesney’s “Anything but Mine” and “Better as a Memory,” two of my favorite songs of his), and it’s recorded by relative newcomer David Nail. Fresh off his breakthrough hit “Red Light” (which, after its 45-week run, I still have yet to grow tired of), Nail needs another great song to back it up.
Why is it a great song? Well, ignore the name Kenny Chesney if that’s detracting you. This is more “I Go Back” and less “Out Last Night.” It opens with evocative details about a hometown: storefronts, gas pumps, street lights, and then progresses into hometown bleachers, feet hanging off tailgates, gym floors, high school graduation, et cetera. While the specifics of each are only hinted at, there’s still enough present to paint a convincing picture and give the feeling that Nail is really sharing his memories. While the song is a bit overproduced (it could easily have done without the strings), Nail delivers the song powerfully and soulfully, going full-throttle in particular on the chorus but never over-singing. It is definitely a better fit for his voice than for Chesney’s flat, narrow range.
Perhaps the only thing that would keep this song from being a big hit is its length. Not too many newcomers have made themselves known with five-minute songs [Editor's note: The radio edit is 4:15]. Even so, it’s very well-written and well-sung, it’s distinctive, and at the same time, it’s a fairly common country song topic. Compounded with the recent success of “Red Light,” there’s no way “Turning Home” can miss.