Classy Singer-songwriter transcends what we know as Americana.
Hailing from Albany, Texas Jeremy Nail trod the well worn path to Nashville some ten years ago; playing in an assortment of bands and bars; eventually releasing his first album in 2008 to some critical acclaim; but few sales.
His apprenticeship continued until he joined the legendary Alejandro Escovedo’s band in 2013. Later that year a world tour was being booked and life looked great; until Nail was diagnosed with Sarcoma (a rare soft-tissue cancer in his leg) which eventually meant the offending limb had to be amputated.
How the Hell does a young man cope with such a devastating thing? Well; if you are a singer-songwriter; you write songs; and that’s what Jeremy Nail did as therapy.
The end result is this fabulous Alejandro Escovedo produced record.
Even if you didn’t know Nail’s back-story; you would quickly realise that the opening and title track, My Mountain is no ordinary song at all. Nail’s distinctive drawl takes you on a journey that touches on the dark days of his illness and the fire in his stomach that got him through some very tough days indeed.
It took me several plays to realise how many layers there were to this song; as the story is quite hypnotic; but the stinging guitar that comes and goes coupled with the female backing singers; are worth the entrance fee alone.
The titles of several songs allude to the content within; Survive, Brave and Heroes spring to mind; but don’t think for a nano-second that this is a man feeling sorry for himself; Hell he has more fight in him than a Jack Russell on heat.
Nail’s fight/battle with his illness and recovery, wasn’t on his own. I don’t know who the ‘Angel’ is in Only Love; but I can only dedicate this beautiful song to Mrs. Magpie who helped me in similar; but entirely different circumstances in 2015; as I couldn’t have put my love and admiration into words anywhere near as eloquently as this young man has.
Not everything here is about ‘the illness’, far from it as on Calling All Cars and New Frontier Nail; with the help of Escovedo’s pin-sharp, yet subtle production; shows what a damn fine songwriter he is.
‘Best in Show? Phew; that’s a tough call….and I will have to toss a coin between the compelling Tell Me What Else You Got; which closes the album and….well; it;s the one that probably resonates most with my own feelings last year; Down to the Ocean, which touches on his depression and the desperate need to grasp the opportunity to make changes in your life.
Hopefully you’ve never felt the way Nail describes in the latter song; but I’m pretty damn sure you know someone who has; and if you think you have…..point them to Down To The Ocean, to show them that they aren’t alone in their feelings.
Wow! Yet again, we’ve discovered another gem of a songwriter and indeed, singer in Jeremy Nail; and I doubt he will remain much more of a secret once this album gets released; no matter how low key.
Released May 3rd 2016