Adam Doleac: ‘Barstool Whiskey Wonderland’ – Debut Album Review
Adam Doleac’s debut album, Barstool Whiskey Wonderland is out now, September 30th on all streaming platforms. Take a listen and read our full review below.
With hits like “Whiskey’s Fine,” “Famous,” and “Coulda Loved You Longer,” it’s almost hard to believe that Barstool Whiskey Wonderland is Adam Doleac’s debut album. Yet, the singer-songwriter’s eighteen-track collection with Arista Nashville/Sony Music Nashville is his first full-length offering.
For the Mississippi native who’s been in Nashville for almost a decade, the album marks the culmination of his lifelong dream. Having co-written all but one of the album’s tracks, Doleac is ready to fully make his mark on the genre. “It feels long overdue, and it’s the first time people can really see the whole me,” the singer-songwriter reveals. “An album is a cool thing. It allows you to tell a little bit more of your story, as opposed to just people knowing a song and not knowing you.”
Inspired by the likes of John Mayer, Gavin Degraw, and Amos Lee, there’s an emotional singer-songwriter-meets-country-troubadour that lies within Barstool Whiskey Wonderland. It’s a unique blend that Doleac hopes to establish him as way more than just a flash-in-the-pan artist. “I love things that are timeless and stuff that sticks around,” he says in a statement. “I’m not chasing whatever the newest trend is gonna be for the next six months. And I love that comment when people come over and say ‘I don’t like country, but I love your stuff.’”
Throughout Barstool Whiskey Wonderland, the singer-songwriter flexes his vocal cords, full of soul and grit as he weaves through sad songs and party anthems. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the album’s lush title track, which finds him wondering about a lost love and dealing with the “what-ifs?” of a failed relationship.
Likewise, the album’s opening track, “Don’t It Sound Alright” immediately sets the tone for who Doleac is as an artist. With a soulful and rich tone that’s a unique mix of Gary LeVox meets Gavin DeGraw, his voice immediately draws listeners into his world. “Take me down where the boat meets the water // Where the sun sinks down on a line and a bobber,” He drawls over crooning guitars. “Sitting in a truck bed, sipping red wine // Don’t it sound, don’t it sound alright, yeah.”
Over the album’s eighteen tracks, Doleac tackles everything from drinking and party anthems to love lost and love found. He shines on the romantic tracks, including ‘Til Dawn Do Us Part,” “Fast Asleep,” “Another,” and “Girl in Love.” While he celebrates the fact that “there ain’t nothing like a girl in love” on the latter, “Another” is one of the album’s most moving standouts. During the pandemic, Doleac spent a lot of time with his now fiance, which is reflected on this wedding-song-ready track.
“Every smile, every kiss, every second that I get // Every little look you give me like that // Every night, every day, every memory that we make // Baby, you ain’t even gotta ask // I’ll always want another dance // Another chance to hold your hand // Yeah, from the second that we fell into each other // Knew I was never gonna ever wanna // Never ever gonna want another // Knew I was never ever gonna wanna // Never ever gonna wanna // Another smile, sleepy eyes, waking up right next to me // A million more just like last night // You and me on repeat”
One of the album’s immediate standouts is “Where Country Music Comes From,” a slow-burning countrified ballad about the inspirations behind our favorite country songs. “I think I know what King George was singing ‘bout,” He muses. “Guys like me, girls like you // That’s where country music comes from // Stars like that, nights like these // Turning real life into love songs // That’s where country music comes from.”
The sole song not co-written by Doleac is “Fake Love,” a dreamy duet with Danielle Bradbery penned by HARDY, Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris, and Jordan Schmidt. On the destined-to-be-a-wedding song track, the pair trade verses about a love that’s anything from fake.
“This ain’t that, that ain’t us // We got truth, we got trust // You know that it’s the real thing // When it wraps its arms around you,” they sing. “I’ve been there, down that road // Trying to feel something I don’t // But it’s been fading in the rearview since the moment that I found you // Now I get it, you can make it // You can fall in it // But you can’t just // Fake love”
While Doleac can slow things down with the best of them, it’s not all ballads on his debut. “Drinkin’ It Wrong” is a fun how-to manual for a good time, while “Close That Tab” is an uber-clever lyrical break-up song. “That’s a breakup-with-your-shitty boyfriend song,” Doleac says with a laugh. “I think a lot of people date the wrong person. And when they do, they do it for like six months too long!” Here, he asks “Why you wanna spend another happy hour sad?,” reminding a girl that her current beau is nothing more than “a watered down vodka soda.”
On “Holy Jeans,” he sings an ode to a pair of ripped jeans he can’t help but admire, while “Hey Drink,” offers another clever lyric, wondering if a drink could have an effect on his ex like it does him. “Why can’t you make her miss me // The way that I miss her?” He asks. “Why can’t you make her wanna // Show up at my front door // Make her think what she had is all she needs // Hey drink, why can’t you work on her // The way you work on me?”
“Neon Fools” and “What Kinda Night” are other songs that show Doleac’s fun side, with the latter finding him wondering where a night will take him.
“Do you wanna get way gone or tipsy // A glass of wine or a shot of whiskey // Call your friends, tell ‘em all we’re busy // What kinda night, what kinda night // Which way do ya wanna take it // How far do you wanna go, yeah // How late do you wanna make it // Girl, I gotta know // Are you a night to remember // Night to forget // Best night of my life that hadn’t happened yet”
“I spend a lot of time wondering if I’m doing life right, and think others do that, too,” Doleac explains in a statement. “That’s kind of what this whole era leading up to this record has been like, just trying to figure it out. But now I know. What I want people to hear is the first full idea of what Adam Doleac sounds like. I want people to hear it and think ‘That’s the sound, that’s him.’”
For Adam Doleac, Barstool Whiskey Wonderland may be his debut album, but it’s a solid body of work that is sure to establish him as one of country music’s most consistent and talented singer-songwriters.
Adam Doleac – Barstool Whiskey Wonderland Track List:
- Don’t It Sound Alright (Adam Doleac/Josh Jenkins/Chris La Corte)
- Where Country Music Comes From (Adam Doleac/Eric Arjes/Chris Gelbuda)
- Barstool Whiskey Wonderland (Adam Doleac/Lindsay Rimes/Jonathan Singleton)
- Drinkin’ It Wrong (Adam Doleac/Cary Barlowe/Jordan)
- Close That Tab (Adam Doleac/Zach Abend/Derrick Southerland)
- Til Dawn Do Us Part (Adam Doleac/Rian Ball/Ben Caver)
- Fake Love feat. Danielle Bradbery (HARDY/Ryan Hurd/Maren Morris/Jordan Schmidt)
- Fast Asleep (Adam Doleac/Jon Nite/Jordan Schmidt)
- Another (Adam Doleac/Kyle Jacobs/Trannie Anderson)
- Girl in Love (Adam Doleac/Jared Keim/Derrick Southerland)
- Hey Drink (Adam Doleac/Paul DiGiovanni/John Pierce)
- Way Over You (Adam Doleac/Michael Carlisle/Frank Legeay)
- Holy Jeans (Adam Doleac/Ben Simonetti/Fred Wilhelm)
- Somewhere Cool with You (Adam Doleac/Josh Jenkins/Matt Jenkins/Jared Keim
- What Kinda Night (Adam Doleac/Chris DeStefano/Josh Osborne)
- Coulda Loved You Longer (Adam Doleac/Casey Brown/Jesse Lee Levin)
- Neon Fools (Adam Doleac/Thomas Finchum/Andy Skib)
- Famous (Adam Doleac/Bobby Hamrick/Andy Skib)
Country Swag Picks:
- Barstool Whiskey Wonderland
- Close That Tab
- Where Country Music Comes From
- What Kinda Night
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Barstool Whiskey Wonderland is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.