David Nail struck cover-song gold with his stunning, story-flipping rendition of pop superstar Adele's "Someone Like You" in 2012, and now he's doubling down with a new take on "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," which Rolling Stone Country is exclusively premiering below.
The Missouri native says that ever since the release of Adele's latest album, 25, fans have been asking if he would record another of her songs. He was reluctant, however.
"They're extremely difficult, most importantly," Nail admits, marveling at the powerhouse's vocal majesty. "And ['Someone Like You'] happened really organically and spur of the moment, so I just felt like, 'I don't want to do one for the sake of doing it.'"
With that in mind, Nail says he picked up a copy of 25 just to enjoy as a listener, but quickly found himself imagining what he could do with the songs. By the time he got to "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," he was sold.
"When I heard the song we ended up covering, it was so unlike anything that I felt like she had done before, sound-wise," he says. "My initial reaction was, 'If I'm gonna do one, this has got to be it.'"
After committing to the idea, Nail set about immersing himself once again in a deeply wounded heartbreak ballad sung from a female perspective, trying to find a way to respect the original but also add a new twist. He decided against a simple piano-based foundation, and went instead with a full studio production that captures the song's bitter internal narrative — drifting, half-numb keyboards, a barely-registering pulse and the same effortless, honest vocal feel that made his version of "Someone Like You" a must-hear. That part, Nail says, was pretty much a necessity, since the delicately fluttering vocal flourishes on Adele’s original are hers and hers alone.
Nail's a powerful, emotive vocalist in his own right — as proven by deep-feeling tunes like "Red Light," "Let It Rain" and even his most recent single, the nostalgic party jam "Night's on Fire" — but he says there's something about connecting with another artist's song that reminds him of his younger days. Back then, it seemed like his favorite singers were reading his mind. Becoming an artist in his own right put a little distance between himself and that elemental magic, but covering Adele transports Nail back to that place — and helps him bring that feeling to his own fans.
"Something I've always prided myself in is putting the listener in that moment that you're singing about and letting them feel that raw emotion," he says. "And Adele's the best I’ve ever heard."