The last time we talked to Adam Craig the seasoned songwriter was pursuing a solo career as an artist. It was early 2017 and Craig had recently made his Opry debut, his single, ‘Just a Phase’ was the 4th most added song at country radio, and he was gearing up to hit the road with Luke Bryan. The past couple years have been quite the ride for the singer who has been working harder than ever on a new collection of songs. On April 5, 2019 Adam released two brand new songs, ‘If You’re Lucky’ and ‘Whatever You’re Drinking To.’ We recently caught up with the artist to chat about his new music, how he’s evolved over time and much more.
When we talked to Craig he was out on radio tour, pausing from his hectic schedule for a moment to take in the views of the Chicago skyline. You can tell immediately that he feels so blessed to doing what he does. Even after hopping from one city, one station, and one interview after another, his enthusiasm had not at all been watered down. Adam’s out promoting ‘If You’re Lucky,’ his next official radio single and he is thrilled to “get it to as many people’s ears as we can.” For a guy who started out as a writer, it may come as a surprise that Craig actually didn’t have a hand in this tune. It was written by Jessi Alexander and Chase McGilland, yet the first time Adam heard it he couldn’t help but think it was written about his hometown of Tenino, WA. “It was just insane that these two people I’ve never met before literally wrote my story.” He’s been playing the song out on the road and has found that many of his fans had a similar reaction. “It definitely has been connecting to people from rural and urban… Growing up we all knew somebody that had a barn,” Adam laughed. He’s right, thinking back on my own upbringing in a Connecticut city, I had friends with a barn, too. So while the exact details of ‘If You’re Lucky’ may be different, the song as a whole is totally relatable.
For Craig, along with many of the genre’s listeners, the stories and real life connections are truly the best part of country music. It’s why when he finds a gem like ‘If You’re Lucky,’ he has no hesitation to cut another writer’s work. In fact, he thinks it’s one of the coolest things he can do. “That’s how I got my start, writing songs for other artists. I got to write for some of my favorites like Aldean and Dustin Lynch, Montgomery Gentry, Parmalee and all these crazy people that I look up to and am a fan of. They took a chance on a songwriter that was unknown… Now to be on the artist side, to be able to do that for somebody else is awesome.”
When Craig was strictly writing for other artists he adapted his sound based on a particular artist’s needs. He found that when it came to his own artistry, he was unclear of how he wanted to be represented through his music. So Adam has spent the past couple years trying to hone in on that. “It was a very poignant thought process,” he stated. “Really being hard and critical on things that I want to say and things that I don’t want to say. My first project had ‘Just a Phase’ and ‘Reckon’ and ‘Why Can’t She,’ which were all breakup songs. And so I’m proud to report, I’m no longer heartbroken at the moment. So those songs I did, I love them, I think they’re so cool, they evoke so much emotion and I love breakup songs, but right now we wanted to show the other side.”
You can hear that side of Craig on the other track he released on April 5th, ‘Whatever You’re Drinking To.’ Adam co-wrote the song years ago with Matt Rogers and Michael Carter. “I’m just so thankful to finally have that song out. When I was on the Luke Bryan tour in 2017 that’s how I ended my set. It’s just a feel good party song,” Craig said. Adam was thrilled to work with his “dream producer,” Michael Carter, who also plays for Luke and produces for Cole Swindell. He went all-in with some of the best studio musicians and couldn’t be more proud of the final product. It’s the perfect song to crank up at a tailgate or party this summer.
So why release the two singles in tandem? “I think it’s just the new way people are doing this. People are consuming music in a different way and it just keeps excitement rolling,” Adam replied. We talked about how trends are shifting away from traditional full-length albums – a movement that’s bittersweet for Craig. “I grew up loving albums and loving the whole piece of art… A lot of times those albums will tell a whole story from top to bottom.” Craig said that’s one thing he will definitely miss. But on the contrary, “I embrace this new way because it keeps the excitement going. We actually recorded four songs. We’re going to release those other ones later in the year.” This is great because there’s always something for fans to anticipate. “I love this whole project. This whole last year has been amazing because that was our whole focus, writing and finding the absolute best songs that we possibly could and I think we did it.”
For this new project, Adam worked with Michael Carter. The two share a love for 80s glam rock and 90s country, both of which served as inspiration for this new collection of songs. “We wanted the huge guitars and huge drums and all these crazy 80s tricks, then also have the storylines that 90s country did,” Adam explained. The description has definitely piqued my interest, as I’m sure many of his fans are anxious to hear more from this artist. And while Craig can barely contain his excitement over these new tracks, his focus right now is getting ‘If You’re Lucky’ to as many folks as possible. If you haven’t yet, give the song a listen and then call your local radio station and request it, “unlimited times!”