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Don't tell David Kersh he's making a comeback. "I feel like I'm just kind of picking up where I left off," he declares. Nonetheless, David is back in the public eye after several years of rehab to repair a strained voice caused by vocal-cord nodules. The handsome singer who took hits like "Goodnight Sweetheart" and "Another You" to the Top 10 in the late 1990s has returned to touring. He's also recording his first new album in seven years, set for release later this year. "Fortunately, my record label is very understanding," says David, 34. "They're just patiently awaiting a CD from me." You can hear one of David's new songs, "When I Look at You," by making a donation to the kids' charity Cowboys for Children at its website, cowboysforchildren.com . Fans' appetites have been whetted by David's participation in last year's Honky Tonk Tailgate Party tour with pals Rhett Akins, Daryle Singletary and Chad Brock. It was an ideal way for the Humble, Texas, native to come back to the stage. "This was a great opportunity," he says, "because I don't have to carry a whole show as a solo artist. It was just a blessing." The 60 dates that tour rolled through in 2004 are a far cry from the punishing schedule of 200 shows a year David was playing at the height of his stardom. "I just pushed myself more than I could handle," he explains. "I thought I was Superman out there. Mentally, I just couldn't go anymore." Then his vocal troubles set in-and David began to wonder whether he'd be able to perform from day to day. "And when the doubt set in, everything just went from bad to worse," he says. "I found myself just going through the motions onstage. So, instead of continuing on and not giving fans the quality of show that I thought that they deserved, I just got off the road." After the nodules were gone, David still had to work up his confidence again. "I just really got down on my ability," he says. "It was just in my mind." He's back at full strength now-and confident that he hasn't lost much ground during his downtime. "I don't really feel that way," he says, "and I guess it's because I've still got so many fans, and I continue to get thousands of hits on my website [david kersh.com ]. I don't feel like I'm starting over from the bottom."
- LEON BECK