Riverfest David Nail

David Nail will perform Sunday at Riverfest.

Contributed photo

Country star David Nail can’t name which of his songs is his favorite.

“They’re like children. You’re not allowed to have favorites for more than a day or two,” Nail said.

Nail will let La Crosse area residents decide for themselves which is the best during his Sunday night performance at Riverfest, which is free to anyone with a Riverfest button.

The 37-year-old singer, who counts Glen Campbell and Vince Gill as his major influences, has been in the business 15 years — ever since he “lucked” his way into it, he said. He’s known for his country chart-toppers “Red Light,” “Let It Rain” and “Whatever She’s Got.”

“I feel like I’ve been fortunate enough to record some really great songs,” Nail said.

Nail also writes much of his own music, including seven songs off his upcoming album “Fighter,” which will be released July 15.

His songs are mostly autobiographical, bringing in his life experiences, including a song about his six-month-old twins, Lawson Brent and Lillian Catherine.

“It’s just life, wherever life takes you,” he said.

His favorite part of show business is the travel, making friends in towns all over the U.S., although he admits it can be hard to be away from his wife Catherine and their young children.

“I just love seeing the country. I never really traveled much as a kid,” Nail said.

It’s especially great to see someplace for the first time, something Nail will get to experience during his trip to La Crosse. While he’s driven through once or twice, he’s never stopped and enjoyed the sights.

He’s not sure what to expect from the show, but said he’s willing to give Riverfest visitors what they want to hear.

“If they want to get rowdy, we’ll do our best to sing for that,” Nail said. “If they want to sit down and just enjoy the show, we’ll do our best to keep them entertained.”

Concert-goers can expect to hear some of his new music in advance of his fourth album’s release, including his single “Night’s On Fire.”

“We’ll definitely play the single and at least two or three of the others,” Nail said.

Riverfest media coordinator Brent Hanifl said organizers decided to stick with the country music theme for 2016 after the success they had last year with Dustin Lynch. Lynch brought in more than 6,000 people during his Friday night concert in 2015.

“We thought (Nail) was a good fit,” Hanifl said. “This guy has a few more hits. He’s a little bit farther along (in his career).”

Hanifl said that anyone considering themselves “down home country” would be able to relate to Nail and his music.

“He’s the real deal country artist,” he added.

Nail will be one of nearly two dozen musical acts to take the stage at Riverfest, including Pick 6 and Monkey Wrench on Friday night and Double Take and Boogie & the Yo Yoz on Saturday night.

In addition to the music, the event will bring back old favorites like the kids’ area, which includes games and crafts.

“The kids’ area is completely free (to enter), and that’s where most of the food vendors are,” Hanifl said.

Hanifl is most looking forward to Riverfest’s new partnerships with the Frozen River Film Festival and Great River Shakespeare Festival. The film festival will screen a not-yet-determined children’s movie at 9:30 p.m. Friday and “We Are Blood,” a skateboard documentary featuring top skateboarder Paul Rodriquez at 9 p.m. Saturday.

“They travel around the globe and talk about the bond that is created through the simple act of skateboarding,” Hanifl said.

On Friday afternoon on the other side of the river, the Winona, Minn.-based Shakespeare festival will perform a smattering of the shows they do throughout the summer, including a preview of “As You Like It,” a romantic comedy.

This year will also see the debut of the Battle of the Barge strongman competition Saturday and the return of the River Vault event.

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Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering local government and city issues for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218.

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