David Nail Spells Missouri ‘M-I-S-E-R-Y’
When David Nail's album, 'I'm About to Come Alive' was released last summer, he told The Boot that the title track was all about not giving up on a relationship. He also revealed a few details about another song on the disc called 'Missouri,' an autobiographical tune about that same theme, but from a much darker perspective. Throughout the mournful ballad about a girl named Carrie, David sings the title as if it's actually spelled "misery."
David tells American Songwriter magazine that the song is the true story of the inevitable break-up of "the relationship I was in the longest before my wife ... I don't really sugarcoat it. [Carrie is] her name. I spell it the same way in the lyric sheets. She's actually from south Georgia."
David admits he's often encouraged by others not to be quite so "exact" about the details in his songs, but in this particular case, he notes, "I think deep down I knew that if I was up on stage singing 'southern Indiana' when I knew it wasn't southern Indiana [where Carrie was from], it would bother me."
Laying out the details of the couple's rocky courtship which led to writing the tune, David explains that he and Carrie had dated on and off for about three years and had recently broken up. Still, he wanted her back. "I finally got her back, and I was going through a really dark depression and kind of always would say in my prayers: 'God, when I finally get my sh-- together, give me one more chance with her.' Just so I can have a clear conscience that wasn't my issues that was causing our issues."
David says he soon realized that the issues weren't his alone and yet having spent so much time and effort trying to win her back, he had "a really hard time coming to grips with the fact that, 'OK, you wasted so much time and energy trying to get her back and you're just going to break up with her again.' So that was more or less a song where I realized that it was over and I was kind of hoping that she would too, and she would do the dirty work for me."
He was also coming to grip however, with the fact that he would have to be the bad guy and break up with her for good, but admits he didn't think at first how writing a song detailing the truth of the situation would ultimately make him look!
"It's one of those things when you read it back you're like, 'Holy crap. What the hell? I'm a jerk!,' he says with a laugh. "I never in a million years thought anybody was going to play it, or that I was going to record it. And then I think as you get away from the situation and can kind of look at it as a piece of art, and you're not so close to the situation, it's easier to play it."
As for his ex, David says, "I joke all the time saying that I hope she hears it everyday for the rest of her life but I really don't mean that. At least, most of the time I don't mean it."