Interview: Dylan Schneider Shares Personal Story in “Daddy Drinks Whiskey”

Upon hearing the title “Daddy Drinks Whiskey,” one might make the false assumption that it’s just another country song. Instead, newcomer Dylan Schneider takes one of country music’s drinks of choice and turns it into a personal story he’s finally ready to share.

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Daddy Drinks Whiskey” captures Schneider’s perspective on his father’s struggle with alcoholism, from comforting childhood memories of playing ball with his father in the backyard to when life took an unexpected turn in the singer’s adult years when his father began to struggle with alcoholism. “There was never a thing in my life as a child, my dad was awesome,” Schneider tells American Songwriter. “He was a great dad, one of the best dads.” Schneider, who co-wrote Dustin Lynch‘s hit “Momma’s House” and has toured with Florida Georgia Line, shares the meaning of “Daddy Drinks Whiskey,” how he knew it was time to write it, and how he hopes it impacts people who hear it.

American Songwriter (AS): What compelled you to write “Daddy Drinks Whiskey”?

Dylan Schneider (DS): It’s something that I went through personally and was not really talking about for a long time. I feel like the song, as far as the story goes, kind of speaks for itself and explains what me and my family went through at the time. I wanted to say something and get it out there for people who maybe have went through a similar thing and let them know that they’re not the only ones that experience something like this in their lives, and things can get better, and they can move on through it. It was just something that I wanted to get off my chest after a while.

AS: When was that turning point when you realized you were ready to write it?

DS: The whole pandemic time of my life was crazy. I spent a lot of time back home with my family and my mom and I have a little brother and two little sisters. After getting to spend a lot of time with them and work through difficult situations over that year and a half, the tail end of all that when I started getting busy back in Nashville and going back to my real life and realizing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and things could get better. I feel like that was when I was finally like, “I’ve had this idea for a while a song that I wanted to write.” And we ended up writing it in January 2021, so it had been a few years down the road. I think that it was the right time and I was ready to get it off my chest because I hadn’t focused on it so much through the past.

AS: I love the way that it starts off with the memories of playing baseball with your dad. Why did you choose that specific memory?

DS: I feel like baseball was my whole life growing up before I got into music heavily. We would always have batting practice, me and my brother, [in the] side lot of our house. That’s a very vivid staple of my life growing up that I’ll always remember. I took it straight to my own personal memories and feelings of situations like that. It was something that I gravitated towards because it was my whole life growing up. I feel like that was one of our biggest bonds in the past was sharing that love of baseball, me, him, and my brother. So that was the main thing I really wanted to focus on.

[RELATED: The Meaning Behind Dustin Lynch’s Riotous “Momma’s House”]

AS: Is there a line in the song you feel is most vulnerable?

DS: I feel like one of the ones for me that sticks out the most is: Hear Mama talking ‘bout the troubles / That we’re going through / Don’t know what to do or how to fix it. I feel like that’s one of the hardest things is when not only are you affected, but seeing the people around you be affected, and you feel so helpless and vulnerable that you are not in control to help them with this specific situation. You’re not at fault for anything, but you’re having to witness people go through tough stuff that you really have no control over and you can’t really help them. I feel like the middle of that chorus is the realest and most vulnerable. Even when I played it for my siblings, that’s a tough one to get through.

AS: How do you hope that “Daddy Drinks Whiskey” impacts the people who hear it?

DS: I really hope that it can bring healing and people can relate to it I feel like it’s a topic in a song that I don’t hear a lot from people and it’s the vulnerability and coming straight at it. Not a lot of people will come out and just say it like that. I hope that it puts them in that situation and then they can realize it’s not just them that’s going through these tough times. There’s a lot of people that go through it and we’re all there for each other. I want it to be something that my fans or anybody that’s gone through family or loved one abandonment or alcoholism that you’re not alone.

Photo Credit: Peyton Dollar / Courtesy of BMG

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