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Doug Adkins, The Whiskey Salesman

New CD: Waltz Across Montana


By Christian Lamitschka <[email protected]>

Interview with Doug Adkins

Ch.L.: Country Music has many new fans in Europe, who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who'se never seen or heard you before.

D.A.: Country Music.. I play pretty straight country... If you like Merle Haggard to Alan Jackson to Toby Keith, I think you’ll find my sounds ok... I don’t try to do anything special and I never really cared much about fame, I just enjoy writing and playing good country songs... hopefully I succeed

Ch.L.: How was the last year for you?

D.A.: I wrote a lot of songs, didn’t tour so much, really took some time to focus on what I was doing and where I wanted to go musically.

Ch.L.: What's your latest CD and how's it doing?

D.A.: Latest CD is „Waltz Across Montana“ .. Released March / April 2010 .. Produced by Brent Mason and mixed by Lonnie Wilson ... The CD sounds good... How is it doing? ... Too soon to tell...

Ch.L.: How did you choose the title for the CD, is there a story behind it?

D.A.: Waltz Across Montana is one of the songs on the CD, and since I am from Montana, I thought it fit.

Ch.L.: Do you write the songs yourself and if not, how do you go about finding the songs for the your CD?

D.A.: Yes, i write all of my material... some with Matt Wegner.. .earlier I wrote with Gerd Vogel but the songs always have my influnce in them, either lyrically or musically

Ch.L.: Please tell us about the songs on your album.

D.A.: I guess the songs are a mixed bag... some very honky tonk country... i think a lot of good listening songs, and i think folks can dance to most everything

Ch.L.: What's the difference between your last CD and the current one?

D.A.: This CD is very focussed arouind songs that lend themselves to guitar pickin’ and steel guitar... I don’t have any piano or organ or fiddle... Just the basics, the way a lot of the older artists recorded their CDs... Basically you record what you can reproduce live... that’s the way i like it! ... My last studio CD which was very good for me, had a lot more rock influence.. this one is „Pure Pickin’ Country“

Ch.L.: Your current single is being played by radio. What do you thing is specail about this song that makes people what to hear it?

D.A.: The first single was Bismarck North Dakota... It’s a waltz... a story song in the style of Willie Nelson or Kenny Rogers ... I really worked to make the story work in this song... the story for me was more important than the music...

Ch.L.: What will your next single be?

D.A.: The 2nd single which is to be released May in Europe and June in the states is „Why Not – 1 more drink“

Ch.L.: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

D.A.: Songs that mean something to me personally and songs where people like to tap their foot... Every song I record has a personal story or a personal interest from me

Ch.L.: What's your favorite song among all the songs you've recorded and what's the story behind it?

D.A.: Window Shoppin’ is still my favorite song that I’ve ever recorded... I think I’ve told that story a few thousand times... but basically a guy gets in trouble as he’s walking down the street with his girl and he sees another girl... Of course he looks, and she says „Hey, what are you looking at?“ ... He calmly responds... „I was only window shopping, I wasnt buying anything!!“

Ch.L.: How much creative control do you have over your music?

D.A.: I have total control... But having said that, I try to give complete freedom to musicians in the studio... I find great things happen when you give musicians the freedom to really go for it...

Ch.L.: There's a lot of work that goes into a Number One hit ... what did it take to make it in your case?

D.A.: In my case, my #1 was on the Hot Disc Charts in Europe... And that was the song „Whiskey Salesman,“ ... When writing a song, a writer doesn’t know how it will be accepted by fans and by radio, so you never know if a song will be played on the radio... Just the nature of the beast I suppose...

Ch.L.: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

D.A.: I had one lady come up and say a song of mine saved her marriage... WoW!!! It was the song off my live CD ... The song title was „What About Us“ ... Funny how things go...

Ch.L.: Who do you look up to musiccally and how deep do your musical roots run?

D.A.: My mom was a singer, my sisters sang, aunts, uncles and cousins sing and play... I look up to guys that can still do what they love every night after many years... Guys like Merle Haggard... I saw him a few times... really inspirational the way he still commands an audience!

Ch.L.: What do you think about today's Country Music versus its roots and where do you see it going in the future?

D.A.: Like Always, there’s some great groups and singers and then there’s some just made by the industry... The ones made by the industry usually aren’t too impressive...“ But for the most part, seems to me the music of recent years is getting better... Seems like artists are blending better the sounds of traditional country with the more modern stuff... it works better somehow... also more writers performing their own songs, which always makes the music better..

Ch.L.: In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between „traditional“ and „new“ country music?

D.A.: New Country... I don’t like the word... I think what we have is aspects of differrent styles of music being blended with Traditional Country ... Country is the largest selling music in the U.S. and that’s due to the direction artists have taken the music... Traditionalists can be traditionalists.. and those that want to blend traditional country with other genres... that’s great too... there’s room for all!

Ch.L.: As an artist you have to do so many different things such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?

D.A.: Playing shows is the part I like! Being with the people is what it’s all about!

Ch.L.: What was your big break that got you into the music business?

D.A.: I was in Bakersfield recording a couple songs with Buck Owens Band, the Buckaroos... Dave Bell from Mega Records happened to walk in and after some time, approached me and asked me if he could sign me to his label ... that was 1990 ... We released the song „Free“ which was a tribute to the 1st Iraq War and we ended up at 71 on the nationwide charts...

Ch.L.: Before you became a star, where your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?

D.A.: Am I a star??? Na, I’m just a guy that enjoys singing country songs

Ch.L.: What's unique about you that differentiates you from other artists?

D.A.: I think we’re pretty much all the same... we love to play country songs and love playing for people... I know I’m very thankful every time I get to play a show...

Ch.L.: What has been your greatest challenge in music business?

D.A.: Booking enough shows every year to make a living is the most difficult part, but we do the best we can!

Ch.L.: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you're proud of?

D.A.: Honestly, every show stands out for its own reasons...

Ch.L.: Any thoughts of retirement ahead?

D.A.: Country Artists don’t retire... even when Garth said he retired... we all knew he would be back...

Ch.L.: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

D.A.: I play golf, play with my kids, cook a big steak and open a bottle of wine!

Ch.L.: Is there anyplace you haven't played that you would like to?

D.A.: I would love to play in Lithuania.. there are a couple festivals over there that are supposed to be tops!

Ch.L.: What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?

D.A.: Energy... energy... e.n.e.r.g.y

Ch.L.: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?

D.A.: www.dougadkins.com www.myspace.com/dougadkins

Ch.L.: What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

D.A.: That song changed my life

Ch.L.. What message would you like to send your European fans?

D.A.: It’s been damm nice to get to know you all and i look forward to seeing you again soon!

Ch.L.: Most careers don't last as long as yours, what's given your career the staying power?

D.A.: Why my career has lasted...? I get involved with every part of the business, the booking, the radio, the song writing, the recording, even the web design... I get my fingers in everything and make sure it gets done... I’ve never had huge sucess, but with hard work we can achieve a few small peaks and keep the valleys from getting too deep.

Christian Lamitschka ( [email protected] )

© 2010 EMOL.org Music Entertainment Magazine. All rights reserved.

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