On the inside of his CD, not far from where country singer David Nail dedicates the album to his grandparents, you’ll find these words:
“Payton Wright, I never knew you, but I will spend the rest of my life making sure the world hears your story.”
So when Payton’s father, Patrick, asked the rising singer to perform at next month’s St Andrews Scottish Festival on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch, an event to celebrate Scottish heritage with proceeds going to the Payton Wright Foundation, Nail easily said yes.
“David is a full, 100 percent Payton Wright supporter,” Nail’s manager Brian Wolf said. “He wants to focus on Payton Wright and cancer research.”
The St Andrews Scottish Festival, scheduled for Nov. 21, is hosted by MacAllisters Grill and Tavern. Chameleon will open for Nail.
“To have a national star singing his heart out on Main Street is pretty exciting,” said Karen Ronney, who owns MacAllisters with her husband Malcolm. “Hopefully there will be a big crowd and we can raise enough money to blow cancer research out of the water.”
“Red Light,” Nail’s second single off his CD, “I’m About to Come Alive,” is currently 13th on Billboard’s country chart.
Nail first learned of Payton’s battle with Medulloepithelioma, a rare form of brain cancer, in December 2006 while watching a college basketball game on television. Dick Vitale, the ESPN basketball analyst who lives in Lakewood Ranch, was telling the audience about Payton and her plight.
“At that point, David wasn’t even sure if he would have a single or a career, but he decided he was going to help Payton and dedicate his life to cancer research,” Wolf said.
Nail contacted Patrick and his wife, Holly, through their Web site and a relationship developed.
“I don’t know why, but Payton just touched a lot of people and made people want to reach out and help,” Patrick Wright said.
Nail never met Payton. His CD was released a year after Payton passed away in May 2007. But Nail and his bride, Catherine, took time from their honeymoon this June to have dinner with Patrick and Holly in St. Petersburg.
Nail told the Wrights he would do whatever he could to help their foundation.
“When I called to ask him to play, he said, ‘I’d love to do it,’ ” Patrick said. “It’s pretty cool that he would do this.”
Nail, who will perform Nov. 5 in Lakeland and Nov. 6 in Jacksonville, is scheduled to play a benefit for breast cancer awareness Nov. 13 in Chicago that is hosted by Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen.
Nails’ tour will take him to Colorado on Nov. 18. From there he will fly to Florida.
MacAllisters has held a St Andrews Scottish Festival for the past three years. Ronney said the crowds have grown so much each year that they had to move it outside. This year’s event will include everything Scottish: golf, bagpipes, haggis sampling.
Music, too, including the songs of one of country’s rising stars.
“It is a nice family event, and we’ll raise money for the Payton Wright Foundation,” Ronney said. “It’s amazing that David Nail is coming down to be a part of this.”