As I watch the clock and wait for the phone to ring, I listen once again to David Nail sing “The Sound of A Million Dreams,” the title cut of his latest project. I consider the things I want to discuss with him and doodle a few notes.
Do we talk about his past success? How can we not? His album I’m About To Come Alive garnered an Academy of Country Music Single of the Year nomination for one of my favorite songs, “Red Light”, and a Grammy nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for the goose-bump inducing “Turning Home”.
Do I tell him about how my son and I crank up the volume and sing along with “Let It Rain” every time it comes on, or, do I let the baseball mom in me do the talking, and quiz him about what it was really like to sing “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch of Game 7 in last year’s World Series?
Or, maybe, I let my Army mom side speak, and just take the opportunity to say, Thank You, David. It’s not just a concert you’re about to do in McKinney on Sunday when you headline the Smiles Charity Concert at Adriatica. By singing here, you’re playing a major part in making a huge life-changing difference in the lives of a couple of really deserving guys.
As I sit and ponder my options, David’s soulful tenor singing in the background seems to answer my many questions with this line,
“Maybe my voice will cut through the noise, and stir up an old memory,
Out of these old piano keys
Comes the sound, sound of a million dreams…”
On Sunday, May 27th, David Nail takes the stage in McKinney. Donations raised at this Smiles event will go toward building mortgage free homes for severely injured veterans, Augie Pena and Andrew Litz.
The phone rings, and I know.
We will talk of dreams.
Michele: Your most recent album The Sound of a Million Dreams has been well received. I particularly like the title cut. How did that song speak to you?
David: I’ve been fortunate to sing some great songs. Every so often, a song comes along that by the third line, you know it’s special. My producer sent this song to me, and as soon as I opened it in my email I got this weird feeling. Really, in the 10 years of doing this, I knew this song was really special. My first thought was okay, how can I ensure I get to cut this song? Sometimes a bigger artist might come along and get the song you’re looking at. I mean, if you’re a songwriter, who wouldn’t want Kenny Chesney singing your song, you know?
But from that moment, it became my mission to have the opportunity to cut it. I really prayed a lot about it.
The song is what, number 38 on the charts now? At our shows it’s the song that gets the biggest reaction which is amazing since it’s only been out such a short amount of time.
For me, [the song] it says, it’s human nature, that once we’ve realized our dream, it becomes routine, and we kind of lose sight of the passion we had that got us to where we are in the first place. This song reminds me and all of us really, no matter what we do for a living, of the magnitude of the plans we make and what we do, what it takes to attain those plans.
Every night, it’s a different line in the song that gives me goose bumps.
When I sang the song on Mother’s Day, it was the line that says,
“I came back a Prodigal Son, My spirit was broken, She threw the door open, I love you, not, I told you so. When I hear “Mama Tried” I still break down and cry and pull to the side of the road.”
That line really speaks to my relationship with my mom. Well, with both of my parents for that matter.
Michele: It sounds like your family, and the way they support you, is a big part of how the power of your dreams have moved you from your hometown [Kennett, Missouri] to where you are today on your journey. You can really see that support in the Sound A Million Dreams video that starts and ends with clips of your family.
David: When I was first in Nashville and doors were closing in my face, my folks would come down and we’d all go to lunch. When we’d get together like that, on the inside, a part of me was kind of begging them to tell me it was time to let go of the dream and come home. But they never did, and they never would, and that says a lot about how special they are. Because of the struggles I had, I mean, I wasn’t always the best kid to be around because of the frustrations I had both personally and professionally.
I grew up in a small town. We never really took vacations because I played baseball all summer long. Where I grew up is this little town tucked into southeast Missouri. I thought New York City and Los Angeles were like these make believe cities you only saw on television. Where I’m from, people don’t ever really leave. Even the ones that go away to college eventually come back to be our doctors and teachers and such. So, the town just kind of reproduces itself.
My group - we were kind of the first ones to break the pattern, and even still, moving to Nashville scared the hell out of me. I was lost. I didn’t have my mom there pouring my cereal in the morning or ironing my clothes, and I got so lost, I just retreated.
And then, it was when I got to a point where I realized, I really think this is what I’m supposed to be doing, and I don’t want to waste anymore time. That’s when things started happening for me.
I think this whole process has been about finding out who I am, you know? I think sometimes people might’ve been thinking I was trying to be different on purpose, but that’s just not the case. I just gravitated more toward what I thought I was supposed to be doing, and that’s music. It really is that simple.
Michele: You know, David, by following your dream and living it out, you are in turn, allowing others to realize their own dreams. For example, by singing here in McKinney on Sunday night at the Smiles Charity Concert, the money raised in donations will go toward building mortgage free homes for two deserving disabled Iraqi war veterans.
David: It’s really is my pleasure. You know, military people are special. It really takes a special person to do what they are able to do and I’m thankful for it. Out of all the compliments I think I’ve ever received, one of the most special ones happened one time when I was sitting on this small jet, making small talk with the guy sitting next to me. I learned he was in the military, he wasn’t wearing a uniform or anything, but it turns out, he knew me and what I did, so he’s telling me about where he’s been and what he’s done and he says, “I just want to let you know that after we’d get through working, about 6 or 7 of us, we’d sit around and listen to Turning Home, and that meant a lot to us.”
I mean, I know Turning Home is a very personal song to me and an important part of my life, but I never imagined that someone so far away from home could hear it like that. Since then, [the song] has taken on a whole other meaning for me.
I went home and wrote an email to the guy who wrote the song to tell him about it. And when he wrote me back, all it said was, “Wow. Speechless.”
The Smiles Charity Concert happens Sunday, May 27, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Adriatica Outdoor Concert area located at 6595 W. Virginia Pkwy, McKinney, TX 75071.
Admission to the concert is free, but this is a charity event raising money to build homes for severely wounded veterans, Augie Pena, and Andrew Litz. Please keep this in mind. Let’s all plan accordingly and join David Nail and company by doing what you can to be a part of the dream to help these deserving heroes receive a token of our appreciation for their selfless sacrifice.
Cash, Visa and Mastercard will be accepted. The first 2000 to make a donation during the concert will receive a free t-shirt.
The concert will also feature Emcee Johnny B. of 97.5 KLAK, a Memorial Day tribute to veterans including a flyover by WWII era airplanes, and a presentation to home recipients, Augie Pena, and Andre Litz. Enjoy rides in the kid’s area ($5) and grab plenty of raffle tickets ($10 ea. Or 3 for $25) and concessions.
Opening for David Nail will be Lantic, and The Maylee Thomas Band. Following David’s performance, be sure to stick around to enjoy a spectacular fireworks show.
Photos courtesy DavidNail.com