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Album review | COUNTRY

David Nail, ‘I’m a Fire’

By his own characterization, David Nail’s new record comes with some changes: Guitar has replaced piano in prominence, and he has become less of a sad sack, singing songs that don’t always reside on the hurtin’, cheatin’ side of town. Paradoxically, in many instances that willingness to change things up has resulted in a more conventional record, with well-executed but standard-issue, radio-ready country-pop (”Whatever She’s Got,” “Burnin’ Bed,” “Easy Love”). But Nail also takes his lead from a different sort of country-pop here. “I’m a Fire” includes a nod to an artist Nail cites as a major influence via a killer version of Glen Campbell’s “Galveston.” And it’s when that influence manifests itself — in the keening steel and tracking harmony vocal of “Brand New Day,” in the wrenching narrative of “The Secret,” in the mid-tempo burn of the title track —not so much sonically but in the sort of soulful, moody ache that characterized so many of Campbell’s hits, that Nail really separates himself from his peers. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Brand New Day”

Stuart Munro can be reached at
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