Country singer David Nail describes himself as "a vodka-soda with a lemon guy," but he'd rather drink in a dive than a cocktail lounge. That's the thing about Nail, a Grammy-nominated songwriter who is releasing his third album, "I'm A Fire," today, he's a small-town Missouri jock who prides himself on being able to "throw down in New York City." He's a cosmopolitan good ol' boy, the latest member – along with The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, and Jack White – of Music City's skinny tie fraternity. If he's country on stage (and he certainly is), he's rock 'n roll at home.
That's why modern Nashville suits him so well. "Whatever your personality is on a specific day, there's a part of town you can go to," he explains. As a man whose many moods have inspired hits like "Let It Rain," which tells the story of infidelity in quintessential country melodrama, to his newest hit "Whatever She's Got," which pairs sappy lyrics and a catchy tune, Nail is a fixture in both the boot-stomping bars on Broadway and the 12 South District's dark lounges, where no one bats an eye when a man orders vodka.
Here are the rising star's favorite Music City hangs.
For a Show
When Nail isn't on a national tour and promoting a new album, his favorite place to catch a show is at Exit/In. The venue has showcased everyone from The Ramones and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Jimmy Buffett and Billy Joel. Opened in 1971, Exit/In is beloved by both performers and audiences thanks to its legendary acoustics and intimate size – capacity is 500.
For struggling musicians in Nashville, playing Exit/In is a big deal. And it was no different for Nail. "The fact that I had been there and seen so many artists that I really enjoyed made me think, 'I've made it now. I'm playing Exit/In,'" he remembers.