David Nail was surrounded by music from the get-go.
“My father was a band director and from the moment I can first remember, I was always surrounded by music,” Nail said. “It was always on. My dad was always playing. There were always concerts at the basketball games, football games — it was just my life.”
When Nail turned 17, he began wondering if music was something that he was “talented enough” to pursue.
“I wondered, ‘Was it even realistic?’” he recalls.
Nail grew up Kennett, Missouri, which happens to be the same hometown as musician Sheryl Crow.
“She had just started her career then, and as a result, that kind of gave me the encouragement and belief that it can happen if you are talented enough and good enough,” Nail said. “Even then, I still didn’t believe in a million years that I was, but it was all I ever thought about and wanted to do.”
Today, Nail is a chart-topping songwriter, known best for his No. 1 hits like "Whatever She's Got" and "Let It Rain." He’s also the frontman for a new band, the Well Ravens.
The Grammy-nominated country singer will make a pit stop in Crown Point Saturday as the headline performer for the city’s Taste of Crown Point event at Bulldog Park. His highly anticipated performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at Franciscan Health Amphitheater.
Concert-goers can expect to hear a blend of traditional country, atmospheric rock 'n' roll and rule-breaking instrumental arrangements. Some older tunes and newer songs from the “Only This and Nothing More” album will be performed throughout the night. Maybe even some “unreleased stuff” too, Nail said.
“We’re going to show up and give 110%,” Nail said. “I know that people nowadays go to more and more shows. A lot of people coming may be expecting a certain type of thing or a certain one of my songs, but I like to take people on a journey. I want people to have fun. I want it to be loose, but hopefully touch somebody and move people with the music.”
The 2018 “Only This and Nothing More” album, which is Nail’s first since parting ways with his longtime record label, Universal Music Group, is a collaboration among Nail and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Petroff and producer Jason Hall.
Nail said breaking away from the label was tough at first.
“For about two or three months, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do or where to go.”
But he could still count on his musical relationships with others, like Petroff and Hall, who would help guide him through the new chapter in his career.
“They encouraged me to take my time and let the music dictate what the next step was,” Nail said.
"It was great to watch David explore these new sounds without having to worry about the boundaries and limitations of multiple different people telling him what to do," Hall said in a news release. "He was open to anything. He was free."
The connection between the Well Ravens band goes years back before the album was released, Nail said. Hall served as the monitor engineer and Petroff played bass in Nail’s band during his run as a solo artist.
The three formed a strong bond while traveling countless miles on the tour bus together from town to town to perform at sold-out shows.
"There were no rules during the songwriting and recording,” Petroff said in a news release, detailing the collaboration. “We just aimed for whatever felt right in the moment. Every day, we'd start from zero. We'd jam together over a drum loop or a weird synth sound or a guitar effect, and that would inspire David to come up with new melodies. We'd follow the spirit of the song, wherever it led."
The new music Nail and Well Ravens crafted is unlike most of what some might hear on the radio today. Every song is personal and has a story and the music itself doesn’t belong to any one genre, Nail said.
“I’m sure there are a lot of people who might say I’m not country enough or tons of people that say if I try to sing some other genres or cover a song, ‘Oh, he sounds like a white country singer.’ Music is music,” Nail said. “I’ve always just said, ‘Hey, I will do the best that I can to entertain and let others be the judge.’”
Reserved seating for Nail’s show is still available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased through the Crown Theatre at http://bit.ly/2GaGddg. General admission seats are $30 and VIP Tickets with seats closest to the stage are $50.
Advance ticket holders will have early entry to Bulldog Park’s amphitheater seating area at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.