David Nail does heavy heartbreak as well as anyone except maybe Gary Allan, so fans may have had reason to cringe when he said 'I'm a Fire' would be a more upbeat collection of songs. Upbeat? Definitely. Fluffy? No way. 

Nail's 10 originals on the new release are every bit as lyrically satisfying as his hits ('Let It Rain') and should have been hits ('The Sound of a Million Dreams'). Plus, there's at least one song that will make the country masochist smile as singer rips out his or her heart.

'The Secret' takes a dozen listens to fully understand, and even then it's somewhat open-ended. There's a funeral, infidelity, a baby born out of wedlock and the main character left wishing it all never happened, or at least that it happened differently.

"I can still see you standing there / Swollen eyes and snow in your hair / And your shaking voice saying you couldn't get past the shame," Nail sings during this complex ballad

Nail's cover of Glen Campbell's 'Galveston' is no pick-me-up, and the new single 'Kiss You Tonight' is about missing a girl he wronged. But those are the exceptions on 'I'm a Fire.' This project's signature are songs like the sexy 'Burnin' Bed,' the hopeful 'Brand New Day' and 'I'm a Fire,' a song inspired by wife Catherine.

“You put the beat in my heart / You put the smile on my face / You put the color in my sky / Otherwise a cloudy day,” he sings. "I'm a fire, because of you / I'm a fire, burning blue." 

There's less piano and more guitar on this album, but one won't find a country rocker. Most songs amble along at an easy pace. Nail's trio of producers find the perfect backing vocalist (or accompaniment, in the case of Lee Ann Womack on 'Galveston') and surround him with a sound that leans traditional, but never sounds old. Fans of fluff will struggle with 'I'm a Fire.' But a true fan's patience will be rewarded after several listens to this album.

Key Tracks: 'Burnin' Bed,' 'Brand New Day,' 'The Secret'

Mixing Fact and Fiction: 'The Secret' is one of the more captivating songs on 'I'm a Fire.' Nail tells ToC it was inspired by the death of a high school classmate, but the bulk of the narrative is fictional.

Did You Know?: Yes, that is Little Big Town singing along with Nail on the funky 'When They're Gone (Lyle County).' Brett Eldredge helped pen the song.

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