Let It Rain

Album: The Sound of a Million Dreams (2011)
Charted: 51

Songfacts®:

  • Nail penned this lead single for his second album with Jonathan Singleton, who also wrote the Missouri native's breakout tune "Red Light." The song features backing vocals from Nashville singer-songwriter Sarah Buxton.
  • Nail married his longtime girlfriend Catherine Werne on June 6, 2009 and he admitted to The Boot that since his wedding day, his happy marriage has left him struggling somewhat to write sad songs. He explained: "Prior to getting married, most of my relationships ended sort of sour. I was never short of material to dive back into. Now I'm happily married and in a real positive place, and when it came time to start writing for [my album], I was like, 'Man, I don't have any miserable moments to pull from now. I think I tapped that well dry.' I can't remember who came up with the phrase 'Let it Rain.' Jonathan came in with this really cool guitar groove. It was unlike anything I had ever written and I just loved it. It's not a bona fide tempo song but with the guitar, the way it moves, it moves like a tempo song.

    We started talking about [the phrase] 'Let it Rain' and a scene in the Zach Braff movie, the Last Kiss.' Zach's engaged and meets this young girl, they had their moment and [then he has] mental anguish. He tells [his pregnant fiancée] about it. I thought the scene at the end of the movie was one of the most unique I had seen. The fiancée had thrown him out of the house and his future father-in-law said, 'You have to wait until she's ready: she may never be ready.' He goes home and sits on front steps. Days go by and the weather gets bad. He sleeps on the steps. At the end of the movie, there's no dialogue. You see [his fiancée] crack the door open and you don't know if she opens it up and throws all his stuff out, you don't know if she let's him in, you don't know if they have a talk.

    It's a really powerful scene and I just remember trying to wrap my head around that, to describe how there can be years of good but you can't hide one night that you forgot to wear a ring. Your life can be going just perfectly and everything's fine and one little mistake, can throw the wrench of all wrenches into it. I always try to put my mind around something and put myself into it. That's what I did [in writing this song]. I thought about what I would do and how I would feel."
  • The song's music video was inspired by the final scene of the film, The Last Kiss. Nail initially didn't plan on appearing in the clip. "At first, I was not planning on being in the video in any way, shape or form," he recalled to The Boot. "Then the director Stephen Shepherd came to me and said, 'Man, if you're going to portray a jerk, to really get the significance, you gotta power up and do it yourself.'" Once Nail decided to appear in the video himself, he had to tell his wife the clip was going to contain a half-naked girl. "I went home that night and laid out the parameters to my wife, and she sat there very quietly," he explained. "I told her, 'We're going to have some stipulations.' I had planned on not having any sort of interaction with the girl, out of respect for my wife, and I felt that made it intriguing. Here's this guy who's so disgusted by what he did that he doesn't even want to look at her, see her, smell her or have any contact whatsoever. It's that awkward three minutes where she's trying to gather her stuff and get out the door without making him feel any worse."
    Nail told The Boot about the shot of a ring and wallet on the nightstand. "That was actually my ring and my wallet," he laughed. "I credit Stephen for being a great director and seeing my vision. I wanted to make it as awful as possible. There's only one way to really tell a story like that and that's to tell it in the most brutal way, and we accomplished that."
  • After Nail's producer, Frank Liddel, sent Sarah Buxton the demo for another song, he also attached a couple of others including this one with a note saying, "If any of these stand out to you or really move you, please feel free to take it on." Nail told The Boot what happened next: "That night I was playing a show somewhere and I got a text that said, "Sarah came in and sang on 'Let it Rain.'" I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. We had not really discussed her singing on 'Let it Rain,' how did that come about?" And he said, "Trust me. When you hear it, you'll understand."

    Evidently, she had come in and had the entire arrangement done and smoked it. It was so unique and unlike anything I had expect to hear. I've always been a huge fan of hers, and now looking it back it was such a no-brainer. I guess that's why Frank's the producer and I'm the singer. I'm very thankful after the fact. It fit her more so than anyone else we could have gotten."
  • One of Nail's favorite lines in the song is "Seven years of good can't hide the one night I forgot to wear that ring." He explained its meaning to Roughstock: "It shows how you can spend your whole life having the most beautiful marriage in the world, and all it takes is a slip-up to ruin it all. It's a cheating song, but if there is ever a guy you want to root for, it's this guy, because he is willing to do whatever it takes to make it right."
  • Nail co-penned this remorseful cheating song when he first started dating his wife, Catherine. He told The Boot: "She was more leery of her friends and family's reaction of 'what's he doing? What's he thinking?'"
  • The song was Nail's first Country #1, taking nearly a year to climb to the peak position. "When you're 25 weeks in and you believe in a song, but you're stuck in the middle of the chart, it's hard to think you're gonna get there," he admitted, "and yet, you can't think that it won't go all the way. I am a very blessed and lucky man, because not only did my label never give up on me, but so many people at country radio hung in there with us, too."
  • This song's 49 week climb to the pole position broke the record for the slowest ever uninterrupted ascent to #1. Chris Young's cut "Voices" took 51 weeks to reach the summit but that total is spread over two releases having peaked at #36 on its first chart run.
  • Nail has a celebrity fan in Taylor Swift. The singer-songwriter tweeted in 2009 that "Red had become her "new favorite" song. Later she got him to open on her Speak Now tour and Nail recalled to The Boot that during a photo shoot, "Taylor told me, 'I love 'Let it Rain.' It's so good. You're on fire! I'm so happy for you,'" he remembers. "I looked right at her and said, 'You mind tweeting that?' [laughs]."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Steely DanFact or Fiction

Did they really trade their guitarist to The Doobie Brothers? Are they named after something naughty? And what's up with the band name?

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")Song Writing

Nick made some of the biggest videos on MTV, including "The Final Countdown," "Heaven" and "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)."

Pam TillisSongwriter Interviews

The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.

Divided Souls: Musical Alter EgosSong Writing

Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.

Michael BoltonSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.

Motley CrueFact or Fiction

Was Dr. Feelgood a dentist? Did the "Crüecifixion" really happen?