Arizona is a “magical place” to country star David Nail. The Grand Canyon State is where his grandparents lived, he said.
“It was one of those places you’ve never been to, but you had family there,” Nail said. “They were super important because they were so far away. It seemed like a made-up fantasy land.”
Nail is visiting the fantasy land by the lake — Lake Pleasant — for the Peoria Country Fest on Saturday, Oct. 9. His latest single, “St. Louis,” will surely be on the set list.
“I always tell people, first and foremost, we pride ourselves on playing great songs and playing them very, very well,” Nail said about the show. “I’ve never been one of those artists who jump on the speakers, does flips and hangs on light poles.
“If I started doing that, it would be totally scripted. It’s never been my thing. I felt like I need to, hopefully, have songs — and I feel I do — have great songs and recreate them as best as possible.”
Nail said it’s his job to keep the integrity of the song and bring new energy or play the tunes a “tad different” so listeners can latch onto them and set them apart from the album.
Singing country songs was the Missouri native’s dream since he was in high school. He made this life-altering decision when he was in his late teens.
“I don’t know what in the world I was thinking,” he said. “I was so ridiculously naïve to think, ‘I’ll move to Nashville and be a singer.’”
He was not prepared for what goes along with record contracts—interviews, lunches and dinners, and meeting fans.
“That was something I had a hard time adjusting to,” he said. “I’m a very shy person. It took me many years before I was comfortable in those types of settings. It’s a lot different now.
“Everybody knows everything about you because of social media. You’ve already exposed yourself to the world. There was no Twitter in the ancient times.”
The pandemic-dictated quarantine was up and down for Nail. His wife was pregnant with their third child, so he had plenty to focus on at home. He admitted he was naïve to think the break would only last two months. It was the vacation he didn’t ask for. However, it made him cherish his family and his job.
“Once reality set in, there were definitely some dark moments,” he said. “I think, so many times, artists and creative people love what we do so much and we’re so passionate about it, oftentimes we forget this is how we pay our bills.
“I had never really thought about, ‘Hey, I’m not going to be working, unable to make money. Once I had a grasp of that, it put things in perspective. There were moments where I was happy I was home with my family so I didn’t miss anything.”
Shows like the Peoria Country Fest feel good to Nail. There’s a camaraderie on stage that’s unmatched. The musicians, he said, subconsciously worry how long playing live is going to last.
“I’m grateful to be doing this again,” he said. “Everybody pours it out every night. Looking back, I felt we always tried hard with anything. Our shows have benefited from the energy level and quality of play. It was a good thing. One bright side is it inspired everybody to dig a little deeper. It gave us a little extra umph.”
Peoria Country Fest
WHEN: 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9
WHERE: Pleasant Harbor at Lake Pleasant, 8708 W. Harbor Boulevard, Peoria
COST: $25 adults; free for children 12 and younger. Parking $7 per vehicle