Take I-75 through Atlanta and turn left in Chattanooga. It's an only recently well-trodden route that continues to funnel country talent to Nashville. Adam Sanders is the latest, and like Cole Swindell and Luke Bryan before him, he honed his craft songwriting before getting his first taste of life as a solo artist. 'Nothing to Do But Drink' is the Florida native's first single. He says it was born in small town America.

“I grew up in a little small town of Lake City, Fla. and I just remember as kids literally having nothing to do but kind of get into trouble," Sanders tells Taste of Country. "So ‘Nothing to Do But Drink’ just seemed real to me."

He recalls pulling the title out of his phone during a writing appointment. Sanders and a co-writer were intending to write something to pitch for Jason Aldean, as the focus wasn't on him as an artist yet. But he thought the song was perfect for him, and fate agreed.

Alan Jackson-influenced Sanders met Swindell soon after moving to Nashville. A mutual friend put them together, and their styles worked well enough to give Sanders his first album cut. He penned 'Out Like That' on Bryan's 'Crash My Party' album. It's not a single, but it helped bring his balance sheet back to zero, and more importantly, gave him legitimacy as a writer. Having a song on an album that's sold nearly three million units doesn't make a man rich, but it lays an important stone in getting there.

Cuts on Chase Rice, Scotty McCreery and Dierks Bentley albums followed, but now the easy-going redhead is focused on his own career, with his name in lights. He finds himself having that conversation so many young writers have when they get to this point. With each song written, he asks if it's an Adam Sanders song, or one he's willing to let another star cut it. More and more often, the answer is to keep it.

“We’re still experimenting with a sound and what we wanna be as an artist,” he says.

You'll mostly find Sanders opening for stars like Swindell, Dustin Lynch and the Cadillac Three this fall and next spring. “For me, the best case scenario for someone like me that isn’t really well known are those opening slots where you’ve got a built in crowd and the pressure is not on you to sell tickets," Sanders says.

He's biding his time, but planning for big changes that for the first time seem close enough to be real. The night after talking to ToC, Sanders even had a chance to headline a show in Missouri. “I just hope they enjoy it and I hope they have a good time and that they walk away with a smile and a buzz,” he says about his live shows.

Download Adam Sanders' 'Nothing to Do But Drink' -- for free, no less -- right here.

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