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Doleac, Springsteen go down easy

Brighton Music Hall, Boston, February 25, 2023

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

"Drink It Wrong." "Barstool Whiskey Wonderland." "Hey Drink." "Close That Tab." "Whiskey's Fine."

That ought to tell people quite a lot about singer Adam Doleac . In case you didn't realize it, Doleac sure seems to like his drinking songs.

While that might eventually reach ho-hum status and at a certain level, it was predictable, Doleac was much more than that on his first-ever headlining tour - Barstool Whiskey Wonderland Tour - before a full house.

Doleac has a bunch of songs that worked to his strong suit in concert. They have a knowing, anthemic (one might read "commercial") bent to them. In another words, they go down pretty easy. And given the demographic that he seems to reach with his music – 20 somethings – he's headed on the right path.

Like many of his contemporaries, Doleac could not be confused with anything approaching traditional country music. His is more the sort of soulful, somewhat rocking (but not too much in his case), always accessible music.

His idea of a country song was a cover of Tim McGraw's hit "Highway Don't Care," which, with the help of opener Alana Springsteen, proved to be one of the highlights of the night as the two played off well against each other.

Telling of where Doleac was coming from though was the first song of the encore where he was solo acoustic. Yes, they may have songs he liked – including "Don't Stop Believin'," "With or Without You," "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," "Stacey's Mom," "The Joker," "Angel of the Morning ," "Wonderwall" before finally hitting something on the country spectrum ("Wagon Wheel") and closing with a snippet of his own, "Famous." Doleac would go on to play a full version of "Famous," of course.

He would later include Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer," Nine Days' "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)" and Trains' "Drops of Jupiter" tacked onto "Whiskey's Fine" to close out the night. In reality, Doleac could have played more of his own songs, given that his debut had a whopping 18.

What the encore songs all had in common was that Doleac must have known the crowd would be his backing chorus. Doleac was more about a fun Saturday night out than making a musical statement.

When it came to musical dexterity, though, the likable Doleac showed that by playing acoustic, electric, piano and even drums on one song.

And the Mississippi native had just enough charisma to have kept the good vibe going throughout the 95-minute show. To his credit, he had enough material and the ability to put the songs across to keep the show entertaining in a show that went down nice and easy – and we're not only talking about drinking songs.

Speaking of "20 Something," that's the title of Springsteen's major label debut out in late March. Springsteen certainly bears watching. Playing solo acoustic, the generous 50-minute opening stint meant it was all on the blonde-haired singer's shoulder. Springsteen had no problem at all filling the time. She was confident, had a presence about her and physically engaged the songs and, therefore, crowd as well.

Springsteen played to the well-worn shtick of sporting a Boston jersey, but at least she had foresight about that – picking up the clothing in a Nashville thrift shop instead of some local Beantown tourist trap.

Like Doleac, Springsteen sometimes opted for singalongs (a cover of Dan + Shay's "Tequila" and a portion of Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars"). But there was more to Springsteen than drinking songs and covers, telling how a failed relationship last year led to good songwriting material ("You Don't Deserve a Country Song"). Springsteen's biggest song, "Me Myself and Why," may have found herself wondering about her decisions about the guy, but it sure made for a good song.

Between Springsteen and Doleac, there were a lot of them on this night.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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