David Nail's journey has completed a full circle. With "Sunset Carousel," the singer returns to his hitmaking sound of a decade ago without giving up what he's best at.

The "Let It Rain" singer is an extraordinarily emotional storyteller. It's a quality that made deep cuts from his first four albums on MCA Nashville and each of his independent albums worth the time spent. Few singers can pick up an acoustic guitar, close their eyes and carry a room quite like the enigmatic Nail. In recent years he's leaned heavily into that mood with personal ballads that targeted a less mainstream audience. That's one of the benefits of being an independent artist — the art usually gets better without radio and record label pressure.

But a little pressure is a good thing and — while still an indie artist — he's centered his sound with a smartly produced story about two summer lovers aware of what September brings. The story of "Summer Carousel" is familiar. Ironically, Nail's only hope for a Grammy so far (in 2011, for "Turning Home") was dashed by an all-timer in this sub-genre: Keith Urban's "'Til Summer Comes Around."

This more mature telling of a matchstick romance is less nostalgic, but every bit as heart-wrenching. The singer wrote it with Robyn Collins and Grant Vogel, who also produced the song in a way that allows Nail to shine vocally. With some luck and hard work, their song will be right on time come this fall.

Did You Know?: David Nail's biggest radio hits to date are "Red Light," "Let It Rain" and "Whatever She's Got."

Listen to David Nail, "Sunset Carousel":

David Nail, "Sunset Carousel" Lyrics:

You came south from Chicago / In your brand-new cutoff jeans / You said Pina colada / And I said this one’s on me / I watched you sway to the music / You stayed close enough to see / You gave me your number / Said I’m staying right down the beach.

We’d go down to the water and drink / Straight from the bottle / The waves rolled in and we were just setting sail / We rode around all summer / We knew the end was coming / At least we’d have a hell of a story to tell / From that sunset carousel.

We took off like the sunrise / Just watched those ponies spin / That first time in July / And over and over and over again.

Repeat Chorus

Like a souvenir sticker / The colors fade / We held on like they wouldn’t / But then September came.

Repeat Chorus

attachment-Sunset Carousel
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