How Maren Morris Sold Adam Doleac on a Critical Song From ‘Barstool Whiskey Wonderland’
Songs from Adam Doleac's new Barstool Whiskey Wonderland album racked up more than 100 million streams on Spotify before he even revealed the full thing. The 18-song "album and a half" features "Famous," "Another," "Coulda Loved You Longer" and a Danielle Bradbery duet that Maren Morris played a role in getting to his fans.
Actually, she played two roles, but the story is best told by Doleac.
The Mississippi native's special fusion of pop and blues powers the dynamic project. Songs like the acoustic "Where Country Music Comes From" will appeal to an audience that appreciates something more traditional, while cuts including "Hey Drink" may inspire a more progressive audience. A wide range of producers (Paul DiGiovanni, Jordan Schmidt and Andy Skib are three) helped Doleac craft a full-length album years in the making. After two EPs in five years — and hundreds of concerts nationwide — the former college baseball player has gotten his shot to showcase everything he's about.
"The verses are kind of that John Mayer low range, and the chorus is big, more Stapleton-y — which I try to be (Chris) Stapleton and Mayer's love child. I would love to be that."
The following Q&A comes from Doleac's conversation with Evan Paul of Taste of Country Nights. Questions have been edited for clarity.
Taste of Country: If someone were to only listen to one song from Barstool Whiskey Wonderland and decide to buy it or not based on that song, which one would you pick?
Adam Doleac: I want to go with something that makes you feel something. I think I would go with the title track. It is one of the more real songs on there. It's my favorite chorus on the record, and I think it really embodies the whole feel of the record. It shows everything I can do as an artist I think where the verses are kind of that John Mayer low range and the chorus is big, more Stapleton-y — which I try to be (Chris) Stapleton and Mayer's love child. I would love to be that.
"Fake Love" with Danielle Bradbery was written by Hardy, Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris and Jordan Schmidt. Do you feel extra pressure when you get a song from a group of really well-known writers?
No, I don't. You obviously want to do a good job with the song. When I got this demo, it was a little bit higher, and Maren Morris was singing the demo, and I love Maren's voice. She's got so much soul and blues in there, which I love to do, too. That was kind of immediately attractive to me when I heard the way she was singing it.
Actually, I've gotten to meet Maren in the interim here and she's heard it, and she loves the cut, so it was cool to hear from her, "Hey, good job." Hopefully we'll be able to get her out and sing some harmonies on it at a show one day. That'd be pretty fun.
Did you see Hardy's ACM Honors speech?
Has anyone ever told you that you weren't good enough for this town?
I can't remember any times when people have walked up and been like, "You need to quit." It feels like every show goes well. People are impressed, but just the longevity of it, or this door not being open for you or this station not playing your song, or this playlist not playing your song ... it does often feel like the city or the industry or the town is like, "Yeah, it might be time."
What do you collect?
I have a small whiskey collection. I wish I had a watch collection. If I had millions of dollars, I would collect nice watches. I am a big thrift store person, so little trinkets. I'm 6-foot, 4-inches, a pretty big dude, but I actually really love small stuff. I will find, whether it be like salt and pepper shakers at a vintage store — I like to bring little, bitty things back from where I am.
Is there an artist or song that hit you hard and convinced you that this was the career for you?
When I moved to town and I was shopping record labels, I remember (a record label executive) gave me an old CD of a bunch of Chris Stapleton songs. Even back then, I wanted to sing like Chris. He was one of the first storytellers and voices I heard and was like, "Man, that's awesome." "You Should Probably Leave" was on there. This was probably six years before he ended up recording it, but I tried to record that song every year. I think Thomas Rhett had it for a while, then he let it go, and by the time he let it go Chris had decided he wanted to record it because he had blown up and was an artist now. That was the first song I ever heard that I was like, "I don't care I didn't write it, I wanna record that song."