Despite his entrance onto the country music scene four years ago, and his Grammy nomination in 2011, David Nail is still considered a relatively unknown artist in the genre. Previous hits "Red Light" and "Turning Home" barely broke the Billboard top twenty despite their popularity, and rave reviews on his first album, I’m About to Come Alive, only granted it a peak at number nineteen on the charts. His second album, The Sound of a Million Dreams has already surpassed its predecessor, no doubt due to its unique music and relatable lyrics that fans have grown to love.
Genre-crossing between pop, country, and rock
From the opening chords of the album’s first track, "Grandpa’s Farm," it is clear that Nail breaks free from the stereotypical country-pop and country-rock sound that has overcome the genre in recent years. The album is musically rich, and smartly blends electric, steel, bass, and acoustic guitars with piano and drum chords to generate a smooth sound that is easy to listen to. Nail’s lead vocals are nothing to ignore either, as his distinctive voice brings soul and life into his songs, and mixes well with his accompaniment and background vocalists.
Crafting confessional lyrics
Perhaps the reason why Nail’s music is so likeable is the imagery and emotion that stand out in his lyrics. "Let It Rain," "I Thought You Knew" and "Desiree" speak of love lost through the narrator’s faults or expressions of love that were not enough for their intended. They are not just "break-up" songs, but reflections on the narrator’s mistakes, making each track almost apologetic since you feel for the words being said.
In contrast, the beautifully written "That’s How I’ll Remember You," serves as a positive response to a break-up, reminding audiences to focus on the good that happened during a relationship and not the bad, with chorus lines "a million perfect moments go rushin’ through my brain/…/when you look over your shoulder, baby you can choose/to remember me however you want to/that’s how I’ll remember you."
Another noteworthy track is the slow ballad "Half Mile Hill," which ponders over childhood memories and reaches out for help in the world today.
The must-listen to songs
The best track on the album arguably proves to be its title song, "The Sound of a Million Dreams." Its slow beat is composed solely of piano chords and accented by acoustics, giving it a hauntingly exquisite sound. The song focuses on the power of music and the reason why Nail has chosen to devote his life to it, with a striking chorus line "I labor for hours ‘cause I know the power/of a song when a song hits you right/pouring my soul into stories of life/hoping someone will hear one tonight/maybe my voice will cut through the noise/and stir up an old memory." It serves as a reminder of the constant noise in the lives of listeners; the buzzing of work and worries that keep them occupied on a daily basis, and the reason why they choose to listen to music. The connection and association to situations in life through lyrics is what brings calmness to an otherwise chaotic society, and the ability to evoke these thoughts, memories, and emotions is what truly brings these lyrics to life.
Overall, "The Sound of a Million Dreams" is filled with music that will strike chords with its listeners. Its ability to take its audience back, help them remember their pasts and recreate their dreams, both new and old, is what makes this album so powerful.
With its current success, as well as the success of its first single, "Let It Rain," this could lead to Nail’s formal entrance into the country music world and further success in his career.