This years Country to Country festival introduced the London crowd to Mississippi native Adam Doleac as he ventured over to England for the first time. The “Famous” singer found a gap in his 27 date Barstool Whiskey Wonderland tour to pay C2C a visit and fans wouldn’t be disappointed as he would perform 4 times over the weekend, including with the Bluebird Café, as well as hosting a Fan Event. As Adam stepped off stage on Saturday afternoon, we sat down with him to find out more about his first UK experience. It’s good to be here – my first time ever! It’s been great and the crowds are awesome. I like the small, intimate acoustic feel of things and next year hopefully you’ll see me on the main stage.
Were these first performances in London everything you expected they would be? Yeah, we’ve managed to make a trip out of this too. Me and my wife went over to Pairs for a couple of days before arriving in London and figured why not as it’s a good spot to go when you’re so close. It was beautiful city and I’d never been there either. I’ve always heard about the crowd here and how attentive they are and how quiet you can get the room; the show I just played you couldn’t hear a sound. That’s so cool as the song writer side of me really loves that and playing rounds where people are noticing all the intricate details of what you’re doing. I’ve also been getting asked a lot on social media about when I was coming to the UK and I’ve got to meet a ton of those people that reached out at the shows this weekend too. The crowds have been really great here and were bigger than I expected them to be which has been cool to see.
Despite releasing your first song back in 2017, you only released your debut full length album just 5 months ago! With a fully loaded 18 tracks! Yeah, I just put out the first record with 18 songs! I tried to convince the label of much crazier things, but it was a little bit of people just discovering me right now and that includes this weekend. We wanted to have a record that incapsulated that and there are some older songs including Famous on there. I did notice that Famous has snuck in as the final track, were you always intending on having it on the album? I wanted it to be on there as I think it’s cool for people to dive into a new record and hear that track as most country fans know that song so they can hear that and realise who was singing that. I think it’s cool for people to put two and two together. It came out in 2019, so 4 years now! A lot of people don’t even know artists anymore and just know the names of songs. You don’t always know who the tracks are by. We’ve been out in the States doing our first headlining run which has been going really great with some sell outs, so at those shows I’ll save Famous for later in the show but places like here I’ll do a little bit of the show and say “some people call me Adam Doleac and some people call me the guy that sings that Famous song!” so I go ahead and play it in case people didn’t know it was me. I tend to do it towards the beginning as sometimes people had no idea it was me the whole time!
I’m sure many people watching knew Famous, but have you noticed fans recognising songs deeper in your collection? They’ve been singing them louder than me! Every chance that I wandered if people would sing, they all knew the words and it’s been great. The last couple of years have been odd when we couldn’t play a lot of shows due to Covid, but we’ve seen a lot of growth streaming wise from around the world. This is our first chance to see all that pay off out on this headlining tour and getting to be over here in London has been great.
You’ve snuck this visit right in the middle of a huge headline tour back home, where these the kind of things you worried may never happen for you over the Covid period? I had all the momentum in the world. I had just signed a record deal, Famous had just gone to FM country radio a month before Covid so all that momentum got squashed and it’s been tough. People don’t realise the effect that had on me and a lot of others. It was tough momentum wise and we had to build that back. I think some people though wait too long to do a headlining tour. I’ve never had a number one on radio but I can sell 1200 tickets, yet there’s people with 3 or 4 radio number 1’s that can’t sell 400. It’s a weird mix and it’s about building that with the fans and I think if you can sell tickets, that’s really what matters. You can have a life and a career doing this as long as you want if you can sell out places.
Looking back in hindsight, even though none of us had a clue what we were doing, could the move online have helped introduce you to a wider fan base? It was a couple of years of growth to get ears on songs. I love to work and be busy but it gave me and my then girlfriend (now wife) a lot of time and we got to spend more time together than we ever would’ve and take some trips. It was good for me as a person but tough with the music. It was a wild time. I think I wrote over 200 songs during Covid.
When you’ve got so many songs written, how do you decide what makes the final cut? It’s all about timing. There were ten songs that could have easily ended up on the album but it’s all about what the friends in your circle are liking and what my wife thinks is the best. There may be a couple of songs that sound quite similar so you don’t want them both on the record, so you have to pick one or the other. Mostly, it’s about fan reaction when you post them online or play them at shows to see what people react to because that’s really what matters. We don’t have bosses as such, we have fans and fans cannot be wrong. If they don’t like it then you’re screwed. A song can come back around and I have so many songs that could end up on record two or three I’m sure. For those that know you as the guy that sings Famous, they may not be familiar with the album, but I have to say I love the album name! I love that title too. I’ve said if I’m every lucky enough to have a bar on Broadway like Dierks, Jason or Blake then that’s what I’ll call it – Barstool, Whiskey Wonderland. I think it would be a great Broadway bar name and that’s actually why I went with it as it’s a great title and something you haven’t really heard before.
Do you have a timeline for future music releases, especially with 200 songs sitting their waiting to be heard? I’ve got record two maybe 70% finished and that depends a lot on what I can convince the record into letting me put out and how soon they’ll let me release it. The number of tracks will go back to the fans though. If I post a video and people are asking for a song then the songs going to come out. I don’t know if music fans realise how much power they have, but they really have all of it.
With this having been your first every UK appearance, there’s plenty more of the country to see and play to. Are you already looking ahead to future trips? I’ve always wanted to travel and play music and this is my first time getting to do it. The crowds are awesome and having so much respect for the music is what you guys do best. In the States there’s a lot of needing to hype out the crowd as there’s a lot of drinking and a lot of noise so you need to play the upbeat songs. Here they let you break it down to nothing and I’ve really enjoyed it and I hope everyone knows that. This was a festival I was meant to have done over the Covid period in those couple of years.
UK fans seem to also love the acoustic sound as that’s how so many artists first visit from Nashville People love the acoustic sound. Most videos that I have that have gone viral online are almost always me and a piano or me and a guitar. People really love the broke down situation. When you put yourself in a bar full of a thousand people drinking, then you miss your drummer a little bit! I like both ways of music so I have a couple of piano moments in my full band set and then a couple of big band moments, so we try to do a bit of everything. We, like many others this weekend, are certainly counting down to the next time you can head this way I would be happy to come back as often as I can as I love it over here and it’s been great. I still can’t believe some of the same people came to all of my shows as I kept seeing them over and over!
C2C: Country to Country will return to the O2 Arena in London and OVO Hydro in Glasgow on 8th to 10th March 2024 where the festival will also head to Belfast at the SSE Arena for the first time. Early Bird tickets were released on Friday March 17th where full ticket information is available on the WEBSITE and socials (INSTAGRAM / TWITTER / FACEBOOK)
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks