Story Behind the Song: David Nail and the Well Ravens, ‘In My Head’
David Nail may be known for radio hits such as "Whatever She's Got," but on his upcoming album, Only This and Nothing More, with his new group the Well Ravens, the country singer takes a turn for the authentic and self-reflective. Nail has been open about his struggles with depression, and one song on the new album, "In My Head," is an intimate look into a period of time of the singer's life.
Read on to learn more about the process of writing "In My Head," in Nail's own words.
When I first came out and was open about the things I'd been dealing with for the majority of my life -- but really strongly from my late 20s and early 30s -- I had just made the I'm a Fire record, [which was released in 2014], and it sounded a little bit different, and a little more positive, than anything I'd done. I felt this freedom to say things I hadn't in the past, and so for the next two or three years, I was just in such a positive place that I don't think I was able to creatively say or describe that situation that I had been through. It really wasn't until the Fighter record, [released in 2016], and then "In My Head," when I started to, as far as in a song, describe what that was like going through it.
We recorded the majority of this record in nine days, in three different three-day sessions, and it was the last day of the first session. I remember we had an hour and a half to two hours left, as far as what we were gonna work on that day. I've always been kind of a taskmaster, so I was like, "Hey, man, we've got two more hours, let's see what else can come."
I think it was a classic case of the good Lord shining down on me. I remember looking at [sound engineer] Andy [Petroff], and I just said, "I want you to get that guitar. I want you to play two chords and make it sound super cool and moody. I don't know what's about to come out, but I can just feel something stirring inside of me." It all came out in about 30 minutes.
I think, at that moment in time, I kinda realized what I was saying, but I kinda didn't. I think, more from a songwriter standpoint, I was just hoping they didn't hate it. But [the Well Ravens] had been with me through a lot of these issues, so I knew that these lines and this story wasn't completely coming out of left field. It wasn't until that night, driving home, listening back to what we had done, that I was like, "Wow, this is a different way of talking about this than I have in the past." It was really neat.
I've always said that I do this for a lot of reasons. But the fact that people come up to me and tell me they identify with something I wrote, selfishly, for my own needs and to get off my chest, it just blows my mind. The fact that I made this decision to be a singer when I was 17 or 18 years old, and that, 20 years later, I can write a song that people identify with, it's extremely baffling and humbling.